Start working with those around you14 September 2011
I have taken a good look through my portfolio recently and have been updating various images. While doing so I remembered back to a book I bought a couple of years ago, one that had such a profound effect on me. Annie Leibovitz’s “At Work”.
Annie is a photographer whose name is spoken on the lips of every budding photography student. Me, on the other hand, only came across her work accidently as I have never formally studied photography and predominantly self taught. This meant that I completely missed out on the classroom chatter on the best or favourite photographers of the past and current times.
When I purchased her book “At Work” I did not anticipate the effect it would have one me. Aside from the fascinating stories she shares with her readers, at the back are a series of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, one of which I still remember each and every day.
When asked “What advice do you have for a young photographer who is starting out?” her answer struck me:
I’ve said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is to stay close to home. Start with your friends and family, the people who will put up with you. Discover what it means to be close to your work, to be intimate with a subject. Measure the difference between that and working with someone you don’t know as much about. Of course there are many good photographs that have nothing to do with staying close to home, and I guess what I’m really saying is that you should take pictures of something that has meaning for you. When I was a young photographer at Rolling Stone, I learned that what I did mattered. This may have been because I was published, but whether you’re published or not, you have to care about what you do. You might even seem to be obsessive about it.
After reading this I have consciously thought of what she wrote time and time again. My family and friends have always been willing for me to place a lens in their faces. Don’t underestimate the power of those moments even if no one else sees what you see…
Bec is always willing to have a good laugh with me 🙂
After buying my Canon 5D Mark 2 I was so excited to show my husband. I stopped by his work and this was the very first photograph I took!
Ali always manages to remain as the boss of the household! Work or no work!
It is great that those around me never take themselves very seriously, well they can’t really with me pointing a lens in their faces…
Very fond memories…capture them…
And lastly me…well my portrait isn’t taken too often and when it is…well let’s just say ginger biscuits are the best!