Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Photographic Inspiration

I went to the first NANPA in Portland because I heard such good things about the experience and what I would learn. I keep going back because I learn so much each time about how to be a better photographer. Part of photography is based on knowing the technicals - exposure, focus, depth of field, composition, color theory, etc. But there is another part of photography that I call the "magic." The desire to find that magic moment and capture it with the camera comes from the inspiration of seeing what is possible with the camera. Going to NANPA allows me to see incredible photography and the opportunity to hear the photographer talk about how he or she took the photo. As I see these photographic wonders on the big screens or in the books, I am inspired to spend the "drudge" time to find my own magic moments.

Nancy Rotenberg's sessions always trigger both a sense of wonder at her beautiful photographic creations and a sense that we, the audience, can go out and find our own beauty. It is there for us to find. It may even be waiting for us.

Her first session this year was on marketing. I loved how she started the topic - a reminder of what is truly important. When we are trying to pay our bills and still find a way to get to those "destinations" to take our photos, money seems pretty important. But she was so right when she said - we don't take photos because we'll make a lot of money. We don't take photos because we love to spend time in front of the computer. We take photos because it is our passion. And the beautiful aspect of this - we all have a different vision. While she encouraged us to find the area of photography that was our passion, she also challenged us to grow by trying other types of photography. Her passion is macro photography. Her intimate flowers and insects are truly amazing. But she has not stopped there. To make a living at photography, one must go beyond our first love and try the other types of shots.

Now, for me, that is easy in a way. For better or worse, I am interested in almost everything. I love the macros, I love the animals, I love landscapes, and even architecture. I have not yet figured out what my "specialty" in photography is going to be. And I'm about to decide that perhaps I won't specialize. But when I am in the room with Nancy, I can be who I am. I can find joy in my passion about everything. I can feel that I have something unique to share. Wow!

When you are in the early stages of a photographic career, it is easy to get discouraged. Even when you are making lots of submissions, there are lots of rejections. The publications don't "feel" like they are coming quickly enough. But when I hear Nancy say - "Are you making a living or making a life?" it brings home the truth that there are benefits to this life of creating something beautiful to share.

Nancy spoke twice at NANPA and both presentations are well worth buying the recording through the NANPA website. Nancy and Raymond Klass gave an excellent presentation with great ideas on how to get your work out there. There are tips for markets that may be easier for people in the beginning stages to get their work published. (NANPA-08-WS1 New Ideas in Marketing Your Images) Raymond discussed some of the technical things that need to be done with your files as you present them to the editors. There is no way in a short blog to pass along all the excellent ideas they had - so I encourage you to order a copy.

In addition, Nancy was a Keynote Speaker. Her topic: Let Your Light Shine Through
For the recording: (NANPA-08-10)

You will be blessed by hearing what she has to say.

If you want to get further inspired, I would check out her book, "Photography and the Creative Life." It is on my wish list.

You will also be blessed if you visit her website and read some of her articles there: Natural Tapestries

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