#create

Where do you find inspiration?

I love candid black and white street photography

I love candid black and white street photography

As photographer's we can easily lose our inspiration if we are shooting all the time, and if those moment's are solely for clients. What? Did I just admit that I struggle with inspiration, ABSOLUTELY. Its scary to admit and I do not feel that this hinders my work, but I am painfully aware that it has kept me from pushing myself to my fullest potential at times. I think if we all could be completely honest with ourselves we could admit that in an ideal world we would create something unique, all the time, and only accept the jobs that truly moved us. I know this is a reality for me some days. Being conscious of this, keeps me checked, and allows me to focus on whats most important, and that its not me or my desire all the time. It reminds me how important what we as photographers do. Do I strive to shoot the jobs that move me most, of course and will continue to push and develop my craft toward that prize but will also put all of myself into every client along the way. I will try to make connections stronger, build more lasting relationships than ever before.  Below I have several images, all taken with my beloved Fuji Xpro 2 and either my xf16mm, or xf90mm lens. These were for myself and even a few of myself. Looking to express how this world is such an incredible place to live if we can only look up from our phones once in awhile and take it all in!

“It is the the photographer’s movements, perspective and experience that are being depicted in any given picture.”

-Antonio d' Agata

What does our work say about our experiences? Our perspectives and movements? One of the quotes, I have become very attached to in an interview with Antonio d'Agata. His work is not for the faint of heart nor is it pretty and pleasant but it is RAW and REAL and EMOTIONAL.

 

parking lots, abandoned , cracks

"X"

Crossing into nothingness 

self portrait, me, xpro2, shutter drag

Self

In the everyday world, a world which affords comforts, encourages fear and supports silence, lies, hypocrisy, cynicism and laziness, people protect themselves to the point of numbness,ending up lifeless.- Antonio d’Agata
— https://www.americansuburbx.com/2014/03/asx-interviews-antoine-dagata-simple-desire-exist-2014.html

All of the above images were taken in Downtown Johnson City, Tennessee and the self portraits in our home. I find inspiration for my work in many places, mostly nature and my family, but also by other artists. I've said many times Ryan Muirhead is currently at the top of my list, followed by countless others. I have an Instagram problem. LOL

Before and After Portraiture

F1.8, 1/100th, 55mm, ISO 50

So I have been considering topics to blog for 2 days and actually set the matter aside as I was busy with other things, then I decided to re-edit some of my favorite images and upon doing so came up with this brilliant plan. Don't mind my sarcasm here lol. I think its easy to see photography or images we like and hit the like button, or slam that heart if your on Instagram. ( everyone should be on IG, its my favorite ) I think often times, that as photographers some members of society think we charge our rates to simply show up and push the button. Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows, I kid around about just pushing the button but when it comes down to it I do much more than that.  The details of how I work on a shoot are ( cue dramatic action film intro music please) coming to this blog in the near future so I won't waste anytime on that today. So what I'm doing is posting a few images below and that will start with the RAW or SOOC image and then the edited image along side it. I hope this achieves several things. I hope to express how much time and effort is put into my work when no one is watching, and honestly I hope to prove that "having a friend with a camera" doesn't mean that you should actually trust them to capture moments in this life that you want to pass down and remember for years to come but also appreciate for what they are as a whole. I spent all day today re working these images and most of them have never been seen as they are images I never released from the initial shoot.
Ok, about the shoot to start. My friend and fellow photographer Nathan Mays, in the off seasons invites groups of fellow creatives to his studio in Bristol to hang out, network and sometimes we shoot.. these images came from that night. All images where shot with my previous camera, the Sony A7ii and the Zeiss 55mm lens. Lighting was provided by Nathan ( thank you ) and we used his Alien Bee Einstein Strobe heads. If I ever find myself in the place where I need a studio again. Einstein's will be my lighting of choice in case anyone wonders how I feel about them.
Haley, and Lilly were invited to model for the group and I remember Nathan whispering to me that someone needs to start shooting, the models where ready and no one was taking advantage of them being there for us.. So here I went! Not sure his trigger would even work on my camera body, but luckily it did. The images below are the results.  Ill list camera exif below each set for any photographers who might be curious.

BEFORE

F1.8, 1/125th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE   F1.8, 1/125th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F1.8, 1/125th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE  F 1.8, 1/100th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F 1.8, 1/100th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE  F 2.5, 1/160th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F 2.5, 1/160th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE  F 2.5, 1/1250th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F 2.5, 1/1250th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE  F 2.5, 1/200th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F 2.5, 1/200th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE  F 2.5, 1/200th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F 2.5, 1/200th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE  F2.5 1/200th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F2.5 1/200th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE  F 2.5. 1/160th, ISO 50

BEFORE

F 2.5. 1/160th, ISO 50

AFTER

AFTER

I appreciate that you came by my site and hope you enjoyed the intimate look at my before and after images. The last 2 shots are double exposures and where just something different to play with and as you see, I had to adjust for the ceiling and the other photographer in my shot, but was able to make a very dramatic image still. Please leave me your thoughts below in the comments! -J

To all of my photographer friends: Should we ever shoot for free?

This topic is widely discussed in the photography community and although my ideas may not be earth shattering - I still feel they are worth sharing - so here we go.

As a photographer, we ultimately want to create something we are genuinely proud of. This reaches from our images captured, the business we create, to the brand we cultivate. We dream of working in bigger cities, larger platforms, or maybe just in a larger capacity, meaning booking more in our current market. While none of these are lacking their own unique qualities, the end goal is the same: to be successful. So I would challenge you to first describe what that is for you? What do you see when you think SUCCESS?  Write it down.

Once you have jotted your definition of that, please comment your notes below so we can all share in your goal. Then - how does shooting for free, or not, play into that success? It may not. It may not help book that corporate contract you're chasing or that wedding that you've been marketing to for weeks, but it may benefit in ways that are more meaningful in the big picture.

Ok, so shooting for free clearly won't put Benjamins in your savings account and there is zero guarantee that it will lead to those elusive Benjamins ever, but what if I told you that's ok?! Its ok if something you're truly dedicated to doesn't afford you the new equipment you're drooling over (on Amazon, B&H, or Adorama). Because what if the rewards are so much more than a tangible objective?

I know what you're thinking- "I need to make money to succeed as a business" and yes, that is true, but what if you dove into something you are truly passionate about and saw it to completion? The feeling of doing something for someone else is a wonderful experience to have. If anyone has ever bought your coffee in the drive thru before you got to the window, I bet you smiled. I bet that feeling was a pleasant feeling. We as photographers have the opportunity, responsibility even, to capture moments in time. Moments to record of joy, sadness, surprise, love, etc. No one makes us passionate about our craft, we are drawn to it for our own personal reasons. So in the end, you can do whatever you want.  You can donate your time and skill anyway you prefer. I love volunteering at our Church anytime they need another photographer to capture events, or just the typical Sunday morning service. I dream of taking a missions trip with my Church and doing just that. Capturing the need of others in a way that someone else would be lead to do more, be more than they are.  I also love having my camera with me when out in public and strive to capture moments and objects I see that catch my eye or that make up the world around us -- you never know when those images are going to change in meaning or value.  Imagine after 9/11 having been able to log into your computer and see images that you'd captured of the city in years past while you were just enjoying your world around you while walking the city...we, as photographers, have the privilege of snapping and archiving the wonderful things around us, but if you only wait to do so once you've been hired or told what to do, you miss this opportunity.

Now, am I talking about hired pro bono work here too?  Maybe, sometimes yes.  You don't have to simply give your time away to some event if you choose not to, however. There are lots of benefits to choosing to do free work for yourself (so much creative freedom!) -- You could also start a photo project that means something - a project that speaks directly to you. By doing so, you may challenge others to do the same, or share a story that helps someone who really needed to hear that particular story. One of my absolute favorite photographers is Ryan Muirhead. His work is hauntingly captivating, but his approach is as well. I'll never forget the video he posted where he is sitting in the floor with his subject and so engaged that when he realized he had the shot he couldn't pass up, he couldn't take his eyes off of her long enough to even reach for his camera and found himself blindly reaching for it. He wanted to capture exactly what he was seeing, that moment, that expression, that emotion and I want that almost-hypnotized-experience.

I'm challenging myself to create for myself as well as others. I challenge you to do the same. Life is far too fragile and far too fleeting to not make today different than yesterday was. Maybe for yourself, your clients, or someone that stumbles upon your work some day.

Working for free may pay more than we are capable of calculating when we open our eyes to the possibilities of it. 
JG