For the past week or so I have been preparing for my first gallery show. I have been working on my Small Town series for the past year trying to come up with something worthy of swanky white gallery walls. Little did I know I would have plenty of photos that I love! I also discovered that I have a pretty distinct style as well and several themes emerged in my work. Not only can I tell stories of places with people and buildings, but with color, texture and pattern. Texture prominently emerged in my photos and it's one of the smaller stories within the series that I will be displaying.
Small old towns are covered in texture. You'll find texture in local art, decaying buildings and building material. Below is a few from the texture part of my series. I hope you enjoy!
Want to see the rest of the photos? Join me at the opening reception on November 15th from 6pm - 8pm at the Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom, California.
“Photography is not art.” It’s a phrase I hear often. I’ll be walking down a long corridor of photographs in a museum or gallery and someone always eventually says, “How is this art? I could have taken that.” Sometimes I pipe up and ask, “How was that taken then?” They stare at me blankly then say something like “you just go up to someone and snap the picture. It’s not like you are spending a lot of time drawing or painting a painting.”
Oh, how this could be further from the truth. If art is all about a long process, then there are a lot of artists out there that could be easily tossed aside. Rarely a moment happens that you capture in a photograph and it’s amazing! The best picture you have ever taken. But these moments are few because it was by chance. Professional photographers make photographs with an idea and process.
Professional Photographer Make Photos
Professional photographers think about what they want to capture before they go out and shoot. Even if a photographer is out walking the street for street photography, they are looking for something in particular. It could be a place with good composition, a certain light, a person or a shape. They are not trying to capture something amazing by chance they are trying to make a photograph that they probably have thought about for days. Art is about the idea and making that idea a reality.
Once that photographer finds the place or light they are looking for, they often wait and this is all part of the process. They are waiting for the right person to walk into the scene or the light to change just a little. They could wait for hours before they capture the idea they envisioned.
For my small town series, my vision involved a few things. One, is the atmosphere of a small town. Two, I was looking for certain shapes and colors. Last, I wanted to find empty chairs in interesting areas. Even though this is what I wanted to capture I still had to find it.
I started with towns near me and eventually ventured out further. I would spend at least a half a day in each place wandering the streets, alleys, and shops. If I saw something close to what I was envisioning I’d move around it getting different angles or I’d sit and wait for the right moment or light to happen.
After I’d go home and download all the photos to edit. This could take 30 minutes to several days depending on the look I want. There is a process in photography sometimes it’s short or by chance, but most of the time it’s a long process. People who have had no training in the medium walk up and snap the photo. Even the photographer you hire to take family photos has a process and an extensive one at that.
Ansel Adams and National Geographic
A very famous photographer who had a long process was Ansel Adams, and he’s even famous even without the debate about process because people see his photographs as art. I’m sure lots of people know his name or have seen his work in some form or another. He’s very much considered an artist. People collect and buy his work all the time they even attend very expensive workshops to take photographs like him with his process.
Wouldn’t you say that National Geographic photographers are artists as well? I can tell you that in the art community they are. The photographs you see in National Geographic take lots of time, whether it’s a posed portrait or documenting an important event. A photographer for National Geographic focuses on quality and quality equals experience and time.
Amazing photographs, the ones that make you stop and look for over two seconds, stand out. Photographs that stand out are not only made because of the artistic vision of the photographer but also with the viewer in mind. There are composition rules in all art that make a photograph pleasing to the viewer, and these are things you learn with lots of practice.
How we See Photos Influences Our Opinions of Them
It’s also important for the viewer to understand that how you look at photos makes a difference too. We are so inundated with photographs now we often just mindlessly look at images. We don’t really register what it is we are scrolling through. I suggest slowing down a bit and looking at your Instagram feed. What do you see? What images make you stop and why?
As a photographer, I follow many other photographers. There are many instances where my feed looks the same. We are all influenced by each other and without knowing our styles start to look similar. So from the viewers’ perspective, I can see why someone would think photography is no longer an art form. Photography is so easy to access, but just because it is easy to access doesn’t mean it’s no longer a valid art form.
Art is about seeing. In photography, it's about how you compose and light a photo, then edit it. Editing is the finish touch. It’s literally the cherry on top of the ice cream. It’s what makes your vision of the photograph come together.
So do I consider my work art? Yes, I do. The small town series is the collection I am working on now, and I am getting prepared to show it at the Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom, California. This series isn’t complete yet, but it’s getting there. Again, photography is a long process, and my vision for the entire series could last years. I hope you’ll come join me on November 15th from 6pm - 8pm for the opening reception. All photos will be on sale, and I would appreciate any support. Til next time!
In November of this year I will be exhibiting work at The Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom. The theme I have been working on is called Small Towns USA. A few weeks ago I explored Plymouth, California and Amador City, California. Two place I have passed by on my way to a hiking adventure, but never spent time in. This time I walked the streets getting to know each town.
I loved both towns and can't say one was better than the other. They are unique in their own ways. I'm so excited to continue this project and can't wait to show it all to you later this year!
1. Sutter Creek is in the Heart of Amador Wine Country
Amador Wine Country in based in the foothills of Sierra Mountains in Amador County. It's a wine tasting experience that can rival Napa any day and Sutter Creek is right in the middle of it.
Sutter Creek has a tons of shops, wine tasting rooms, a beautiful hotel and lots of history! The locals say it's the "Jewel of the Motherlode." I certainly have to agree, although I am not certain what motherlode means, other than something I need to look up later. However, the city certainly is charming and very friendly.
My favorite wine tasting room is the Bella Grace Vineyards house. It's just so cute and quaint that you can't help, but love the wine just because the atmosphere was so great!
2. Sutter Creek Hosts Over 40 Events Each Year
They literally have something for everyone to enjoy from a Chocolate Lovers Weekend to an Italian Picnic and Parade to a pig roast coming up next week. You could literally go there every weekend and experience something new!
3. Best Restaurants in Amador Wine Country
Element ranked number 1 on Yelp fits right into Sutter Creek's charm with it's brick exterior, but the decor and inside are like a modern New York apartment. They serve breakfast and lunch with artisan coffee. You won't be disappointed if you stop here.
Plan on staying the night the Handford House Inn right next to element is highly recommended and offers a free breakfast at Element. Win, win!
4. A Plethora of Antiques and Art
Like a lot of small towns there are a lot of small businesses. They usually come in the form of antiques (which I love) and art galleries (which I also love). If I wasn't with my husband and son who were ready to go fishing I would have walked into every antique shop and gallery. I am sure I would have walked away with a few things too! Maybe that's why they go with me? Hmmm?
5. So Much Natural Wonder
If you don't think you can spend all day in a little town, then check out all the cool places around Sutter Creek. Not only is there Sutter Creek, but Amador City and Jackson, plus all the natural wonders to see as well.
We ventured off to go fishing at a small lake called Lake Tabeaud. We didn't catch any fish, but saw a bald eagle and other people catching. You can also visit Black Chasm cavern, Roaring Mining Company and, of course, Amador Wine Country. You could make a whole weekend of it as a couple and even as a family! It's just so close why wouldn't you!
1. Set Realistic Expectations
Stress free means that as a mom I understand that most kids are not going to sit through a 15-30 minute session pretending to be happy about it. With this in mind, my sessions are both interactive and fun! I provide you with direction to get you to interact with each other versus static, fake smile poses. The interactions I create provide real reactions to make kids look and feel natural in photographs.
2. Bring a Bribe
Usually at family portrait sessions I bring treats like lollipops, in case someone is not cooperating. This is a great way to relive stress by knowing there’s a back up plan, when things don’t go as planned. (Hate to break it to you, but they never do.) I also suggest parents bring their own treats as well or the promise of ice cream at the end of family photography session can entice even the most pouty kids.
3. Know How the Photographer Shoots
The beauty of the digital camera is that a photographer can take as many shots as they would like. All those moments in between instructions can be documented and, honestly, those are some of the best moments for natural looking photographs. Why? Because no one is thinking about the camera. So don’t stop what you’re doing when you here the click in between “poses.”
4. Make Sure Your Photographer is Encouraging
My job is to be there for my clients, to make them feel that they are doing a good job. Family portrait sessions can be very deflating if the photographer is not enthusiastic, which reflects on your mood. Deflated moods lead to unnatural looking photographs and high stress levels. Getting your picture taken should be exciting!
5. Don’t Expect Smiles All the Time
I don’t expect my child to smile all the time and I don’t expect it in family portraits either. It’s unnatural to force a smile and it shows in photos, they look cheesy. It also stresses out the family if one person doesn’t smile because everyone encourages them to do so. Kids that don’t smile can still have wonderful photos that often look soulful and heartwarming!
See what an hour long session is like or for a true stress free photography experience try a different kind of session like "day in life" sessions.