Ad image

PPA Today: Imaging USA Classes: January 2015 Archives

Imaging USA Classes: January 2015 Archives

By John Owens

Back in the fall, PPA launched the second annual PPA Kickstart Scholarship. Our four lucky PPA members are already in Nashville for their pre-convention classes--completely on the house! The winners were given the opportunity to choose between a full-day of hands on classes or a two-day Studio Management Services workshop.

We chatted with each of our winners last month, and their excitement was evident. Each will be attending their first Imaging USA. Here are some highlights from the conversations:


By Mariah Ashley

I'm sitting here in Massachusetts with a blizzard bearing down on my house and all I can think is, This better not mess up my plans to go to Imaging USA in Nashville on Friday!

It's colder than a frosted frog here so in the spirit of Nashville, I'm passing the time researching country and western idioms. What I've discovered is that we're pretty boring here in New England, at least in terms of color phrases. You know, one of the best things you can do when visiting a new place is to learn some local lingo. I've included a bunch in this post so that you can fit in too. You're welcome.

Anyway... What a difference two years can make! It was just two years ago that I tried to fake a flu to get out of the trip to Atlanta for my first Imaging USA. My business had two speeds at that time: slow and stop. Yep, my crick had run dry. True story. I had $79 in my bank account. Coming up with enough money each week to make payroll was like trying to put socks on a rooster.

I couldn't see mustering the energy, let alone the money to make the trip. Fortunately for me, my business partner Trish is as bright as a new penny and saw right through my lame faux-flu. She insisted I get on the plane. Never in my wildest imagination (and trust me it gets crazy as a bed bug in there) did I imagine how much that trip would change my life. When we arrived in Atlanta we were desperate--desperate for inspiration, desperate for answers. We had nothing to lose so we went with open minds and empty pockets and found everything we were looking for.

By Chris Homer

A third generation photographer, Luke Edmonson has the craft in his blood! He's been a
edmonson_luke_iusa15blog.jpg
 professional photographer for nearly 20 years, starting out in commercial photography and then teaming up with his father in 2003 to create Edmonson Weddings. We chatted with Luke about defining style, his career as a photographer, what inspires him and more. Here's the recap of the interview:

1. What would you say is the biggest difficulty people usually face in defining their style?
The biggest difficulty in finding a style is finding your own voice and doing the work to discover who you are and what you want to say. It's not simply a matter of the type of photography you like or admire. It's not simply your ability to execute what you want when creating your imagery. You have to know the "Why" behind what you are communicating.

It's about understanding and knowingly pursue what is behind your vision when you are capturing a moment, your subjects, how you light, direct or pose them. So, an artistic style, at its very core, requires introspection. Something that as individuals many of us do not want to do. It requires you to become still...to be quiet...to reflect with intent.

I like this quote from Katherine Anne Porter, Pulitzer Prize winning author, who says succinctly "You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself, and your style is an examination from your own being."

Let's examine that for a minute...

a. You don't create a style? Then what is all this talk about "finding your style" or "creating your style" that you hear bantered about? Perhaps it's just marketing speak to make it more palpable to the audience who is listening. Who wants to hear about work when the world sells us on the premise of "easy, fast and simple"? But don't for a second betray yourself to think that discovering something is easy. Especially when it involves learning about yourself. What is it that you bring to each photo shoot that shapes the direction of the imagery you capture?

b. You work and develop yourself? Yep, it's a never-ending process of growth periods, plateaus, and sometimes darker times. When things get stagnant, it's up to you to make the changes necessary to break through. When you are on top of the world it's about fighting complacency. None of us ever have it all truly figured out. However, with growth and development, some challenges as a photographer that may have taken hours to solve visually can be solved in mere minutes, once you've had that proverbial light-bulb moment.

c. Your style is an examination from your own being? Like most of us, you probably became a photographer when you fell in love with it. Perhaps, it was because of its immediacy. Perhaps it was because of how it made your feel when people complimented your early eye. But now that you have been in it for longer, what keeps you in the field? What drives you to create? When you look back on your work, what patterns and tendencies do you see? How have you transitioned from WHAT you see when you shoot but HOW you see, think and feel when you shoot? Have you had to persevere and overcome challenges in your photography? Your fingerprint is firmly implanted on every image you create. I encourage you to study it and understand it!

If you want to become a better photographer, it starts with becoming a better person. How can you pour out your life into others if there are areas in your own life that are holding you back from doing just that?

By: Lauren Walters

           

Thom Rouse began his career in 1994. He now splits his time as a portrait and commercial photographer. With two diverse sides to his career, Thom has mastered the art of photography. In the following interview, he tells us about himself as an artist.

 

What is your definition of "fine art"?

 

I wouldn't dare try to define art! My thought is that if you have a personal experience with literature, music, a painting or a photograph, then it must be art. We don't really need to define it, agree on it, or consult a critic to decide what it means. If we have an experience with it, positive or negative, I think it must be art.

 

Who are some of the artists who inspire you?

 

There are many artists who inspire me and the list changes daily. Among those near the top of my list are Salvador Dali, Gustave Klimt and Tintoretto. Among photographers, I'd include Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gordon Parks and Irving Penn. As soon as I start a list, I can think of 30 more I should have added.

 

Why do you teach classes for other photographers?

 

        It sounds trite, but I like to teach because I learn so much from it. It pushes me to think and evaluate the things I think I know about my process and my craft. While teaching, I often have some self-revelation about my own image making and I always learn from other photographers, usually from the newest newbie in the room.

 

You've had over 50 images go Loan - what do you enjoy most about photographic competitions?

 

        My reasons for entering competition have changed over time. When I started, I was solely trying to make the judges happy and earn merits towards a degree. Once I earned my degrees, I tried to make and enter images that I liked the most and were unique to me. At that point, I stopped looking for what I thought would achieve the highest scores. If we're not learning from competition, I see no reason to compete. We all need to present our work and receive feedback; it's a part of our ongoing creative process. No matter where we are in our careers, photographic competitions guarantee to make us better image makers. The more we enter competition, the more we have to work at stretching ourselves. It pushes us to take chances and do work that advances our vision; not just entering images that will earn more merits.

 

What makes photography such a versatile medium of expression?

 

        It's great to be a photographer: a time when the medium has become more versatile than ever! I started later in life at 40 years old, but the 20 year span of my career has encompassed the transition from film to digital capture. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom, I came alive with digital post production. During that time it has become an entirely new medium that encompasses painting, compositing and extensive possibilities for post-capture manipulation. The technology has created endless opportunities, yet we have to remind ourselves that we still create images with our eyes, hearts and minds. That's what makes photography truly versatile.

 

Do you pursue any other creative endeavors?

 

        Sadly, I do not. I gave up music 30 plus years ago; although, I'm greatly inspired by other media. I fantasize projects in other media, but I've never acted on it.

 

What is your favorite image you've captured?

 

        I have several favorites because they were influenced by very personal experiences that captured, expressed and expanded those experiences. I think the best and most impactful work is done when it's grounded in your personal experience.

 

Who should take your class at Imaging USA?

 

I think that photographers in any genre and at any experience level will find something of value in my program. I'll be making the case for spending time on fine art and how fine art will translate into added success in commercial and portrait work. Creating and displaying fine art expands your reputation as an artist, and will contribute to both your image making skills and to your bottom line.

 

What are the top 3 things people should take away from your class?

 

1. Pursuing personal fine art will keep you fresh, alive and vibrant as an image maker.

2. These days everyone is a photographer - being recognized as an artist elevates your status and recognition in the market.

3. Fine Art translates into skills and styles that let you create work like no one else in your market.

 

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

This is trick question that should be answered with "all of the above". I know that Elvis and Johnny Cash have influenced nearly everyone that's followed, but my first choice for listening right now would be Jack White!

This must be a based on Nashville connections; otherwise I'd be voting "none of the above" and writing in Miles Davis!

Come listen to Thom speak at Imaging USA in Nashville, TN. He will conduct a course called "The Case for Fine Art" on February 1, 2015. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Blog_Footer_IUSA_V2.jpg

By: Lauren Walters

Let's get to know one of our speakers who will be at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee. JulieAnne Jonker has her master of photography and photographic craftsman degrees from PPA and is also a certified professional photographer (CPP). In the following interview, she sheds some light on her career as a photographer. 

Who's your class for?

Any photographer, really. It's about inspiration as much as what it takes to get your photography studio to the next level. I'll help you direct your business based on your definition of yourself as an artist

What are the top 3 takeaways from your class?

At the end of my class, you will be able to understand 3 things: 

1. Who you are as an artist

2. What direction you want to take your studio in 2015

3. How you can operate a low-volume, high-end studio in this economy

Define your style as a photographer in 5 words.

My style reflected in my photography is vintage, ethereal, classical, compelling and timeless.

What makes your portrait style so unique?

The influences that I continually derive from the fine art world shine through my work and define my photography style.

What is your favorite medium of expression besides photography?

Outside photography, there are two outlets I use to express myself: painting and sculpting.

What was your proudest photographic moment?

Being invited and voted into the Camera Craftsmen of America has to be my proudest moment as a photographer.

What is one marketing mistake many photographers make when they are first starting out?

Inexperienced photographers tend to compete on price, and price only, to get their foot in the door, but that presents them as cheap studios with too many sales and specials. 

What do you want to be known for?

As an artist I'd like to be known for creating timeless pieces.

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

Definitely, Jimi Hendrix.

JulieAnne has had a long streak of success. Learn from her at Imaging USA in Nashville! You'll have two opportunities to hear her speak: on the business panel "5 Golden Nuggets" and in her solo-class called "The Portrait as an Art Form"

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at ImagingUSA.org/Register! We can't wait to see you in Nashville! 

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Blog_Footer_IUSA_V2.jpg



About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Imaging USA Classes category from January 2015.

Imaging USA Classes: December 2014 is the previous archive.

Imaging USA Classes: August 2015 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Live Chat is open