I am the silent girl with the camera. At times I am invisible and visible in the same space. I shoot pictures of people, places, objects, musicians, and document moments in time. I collect photography books. I study the work of film photographers and film makers. I believe that having the ability to shoot multiple photographs with a digital camera, with every shot I increase my photographic knowledge and develop my photographic voice. I may unexpectedly capture a moment. I also believe that the awareness of the techniques and limitations of film photography is valuable in one's knowledge of digital photography. Thus I attempt to think in the context of film when I shoot and I am alright with imperfections.
"Blurry pictures can be cool too. I spent way too long doing sharp ones." – Chalkie Davies, photographer
I keep several of my old digital cameras as each carries a particular characteristic, just as old film cameras do. My digital development philosophy is minimalist most of the time. I am not a commercial photographer. I'm a girl who takes pictures.
WHY I TAKE PICTURES
I didn't grow up with philosophical parents who encouraged my pursuit of photography. I didn't grow up poor, but I was rarely granted the privilege of luxury items. So I am starting this pursuit late in life. My closest friends know me as the girl who writes essays that are reflective of my sometimes complicated life as a human being in this world. The photographic field is competitive. It's dominated by people taking pictures on cell phones and photographers who take advantage of the editorial enhancements provided by Photoshop. Sometimes one feels there is limited room for the self-taught photographer developing their craft; or for the photographer who attempts to avoid being so conscious of their skill level, particularly in field dominated by men, that self-doubt becomes paralyzing.
My first real experience as a photographer was shooting at the WOMAD festival in Redmond in 2001. There was one other girl in the pit area, the area in front of the stage that has barrier to the audience, she was relegated to the role of assistant to a male photographer. That day I learned that while my male counterparts had more authority and experience with the camera, I was no less of a photographer by comparison.
Imogen Cunningham is my photographic mentor in absentia. As a photographer, Imogen reminds me that mechanical and visual skill is not a competitive sport.
Richard Lorenz wrote about Cunningham, "She believed that a career in photography, or any career, should not be predicated by sex: 'It is really not so much a matter of suitability to sex as to individuality....Women are not trying to outdo the men by entering the professions. They are simply trying to do something for themselves...Photography is then...a craft or trade to which both sexes have equal rights...If photography needs any new recruits, it needs only people of good taste who know the fitness of things and have a sense of the limitations of the medium. And with this good taste should be combined the hand of the skilled mechanic, the eye of an artist, and the brains of a scientist.'"