One of my beliefs is that our curiosities are quietly tugging us to go somewhere for a reason. I’ve learned over the past few years to listen to that curiosity, even when I don’t quite understand why. I trust that those seemingly random interests and impulses are part of a bigger picture that I can’t quite see. And truthfully, I think that it makes my work more interesting. I’ve come to see my work as a sum of the knowledge and skills I’ve picked up along the way. I’m not just a jewelry designer, I’m a vessel for techniques and knowledge and my output (be it jewelry, pottery, leather, opening a shop, writing, etc.) is influenced by the intersections across mediums.
The past two years or so I found myself drawn to photography as a means of documenting. Of capturing details, little and big. Of preserving a moment – a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a sunset, a studio still life. I started with my iphone like many do. And it is incredible what it can do, especially considering the small package. But I started to find myself wanting to have more control over the image and capturing details that don’t usually come through an automatic image.
So! After much dragging my feet, I bit the bullet and invested in a dreamy camera (to me at least). When thinking on a mirrorless vs dslr, I felt interested in a mirrorless camera and was able to test one before making the big purchase. (I’d previously owned an entry dslr and didn’t carry it around much due to it’s size). I ended up loving the Fuji colors! And the size felt right for what I wanted – everyday use and travel. I went with the Fuji X-T2 and I am very happy so far. Of the all the X series options, I chose the X-T2 because of its 4k capabilities. I like the idea of being able to grow into a camera vs outgrowing one really fast.
And then I started my search for how I would learn manual photography. I went in knowing that I wanted to take a class because A. I love taking classes and learning new things! and B. I learn best when a medium is taught sequentially. I struggle with grasping knowledge when it’s piecemeal or taught in a nebulous fashion. And I have asked many (many) people to explain what aperture, shutter speed and ISO mean and I could never wrap my head around it. So I knew I needed to find a high quality class or instructor because I didn’t want to spend 6 weeks not really getting something (I’ve done this before in other classes and it is so frustrating to complete a course and still not get it). Once I knew I wanted to take a class I kept my ears open and randomly walked past Austin School of Photography (ASOP), who happens to be in the same building as the store. I looked them up and they have excellent reviews – they’re almost hard to believe because they are so positive and complimentary. So, I signed up for the Photo 1 class and here I am.
I’m going to share my progress over the coming weeks with two goals. One, to document my progress and two, to share with you in hopes of inspiring you to learn a new medium that you feel tugged to. I am a firm believer in that we are all eternal students and our primary focus in life should be to stay curious, actively seek new information, and let it change you. If you are interested in something and don’t know why, don’t question it! Just go with it. Watch a youtube video, find a mentor, take a class, or just play around. If you don’t know what you’re interested in learning – think back to your childhood and ask yourself, “What felt like play?” or “What did you enjoy doing just for fun?”. Don’t put pressure on yourself – this is a do what I say not what I do suggestion. I am notorious for showing up as a perfectionist and putting lots of pressure on myself to get it right, to be great at the beginning, be a savant at everything I try. And while it probably causes unnecessary suffering, it pushes me to keep going because nothing feels better than that first moment when it clicks and I know I’ve got it. That moment inspires me because I know I can accomplish any task or even master a medium with practice, patience, and perseverance. And I firmly believe that anyone can. Every single one of us is creative, we are all born creative. Think back on your childhood self, wasn’t he/she creative in play? In creating without judgement? We all are and the work is to get back to that childhood space where we create from our deeper selves and see what comes of it.
Here are some photos (taken on automatic, unedited for posterity).