What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I’m a photographer, artist, and admin/founder of the Facebook 365 Photography Challenge group. A typical day’s responsibilities may include a photography session, post production/ digital art creation, social networking/marketing, web/data management, ordering/delivery of images, and moderator duties on my Facebook group site. I’m also currently working on my Certified Professional Photographer’s Certificate (CPP) through PPA.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer & Photoshop artist? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I spent 15 years as an elementary school teacher. But, my weekends and summers always involved some form of art. My mother, who passed away of cancer when I was young, loved to draw and paint. I remember being fascinated by her artwork and her paintings became even more valued by our family after she was gone. My father instilled the importance of taking risks in life and pursuing dreams. Both these influences allowed me to feel safe and confident when I explored different mediums.
I started becoming serious about photography because of all the people in my life that have transitioned to spirit. When my son passed away, it gave me a creative outlet that I could focus on; something beautiful and fulfilling instead of my sadness. Every single time I photograph someone, I actually say a silent prayer of thanks that I’m documenting the person’s life at that moment, because it is all so fleeting.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
For me, it has always been the business and marketing aspect of having a career in the arts. You can create the most amazing images, but if you aren’t connected with your market, and they don’t know your work exists, you aren’t going to make it. I’ve found that networking with other artists and photographers is invaluable. When people get to know you on a personal level they become invested – so every day, through social media, I’m sharing my work and my process. This is what has resulted in clients, but it’s a constant struggle between creating and marketing.
With all the new versions of Photoshop & Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
I’ve been using Photoshop for seven years and taught myself the program by buying loads of books, then transitioning to educational videos and websites. It’s an amazingly powerful program which is both daunting and exciting! A lot of photographer’s shy away from post production, but I love it. Using Photoshop allows me to combine my love of photography with art especially when I’m creating my smoke photography art. When Adobe came out with Creative Cloud, I had no qualms about joining. I love that I will never have to update my programs again. It’s the best money I spend each month.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
There are several photographers that I admire, and just recently I sat in on a talk given by by Monica Royal. She’s a fine art macro photography specialist in California and she spoke to my soul because she connected me with my first love which was fine art and macro photography. Her reaction to my smoke photography art was amazing. Sometimes that’s all it takes; someone we respect to say, “This is great! You should be pursuing this!”.
I’m influenced most by historic painters. I love impressionism, and my favorite artists are Monet and Renoir. I also like Degas’ work. About 6 years ago, I went to the Louvre in Paris. Each room was filled with impactful pieces of artwork. It was a surreal moment when I looked at Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”. It’s quite moving to see such a famous piece of art in person, but what really hit me was how many people were crowded around this small painting in the middle of a large room. As we worked out way to the front for a better view I wondered if da Vinci had any thought, when he painted this piece, what the future for hit held. This thought about leaving a legacy hits me every time I finish a piece of work. They are like children that you send out into the world.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Photography the best?
I’m most active on Facebook, but I also post to Twitter, Pinterest, and 500px. I like the interaction that happens on Facebook. The photography groups like Photoshop and Lightroom are a huge resource for feedback and inspiration. I post to 500px when I want to see how one of my images will be received by an audience that is used to seeing amazing work. Pinterest is a source of inspiration when I’m looking for ideas on any manner of photography like posing, props, lighting… you name it.
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks?
I’ve seen social networks move consistently towards image based, instant, mini-postings in real time. An example of this is Instagram. I have yet to join Instagram, but I know it’s only a matter of time. It’s a constant struggle to keep up with how quickly social media is evolving. Just when I think I’m on top of it, I realize I’m already out dated. My prediction is that those that don’t stay current, won’t ‘stay current’. There’s no room for technological complacency.
How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Well, on the plus side, I believe social networks will only become more and more image centered which works in my favor. But, on the negative side, I worry about the easy access to copyrighted material. The more people share their work, the more it seems acceptable for other’s to ‘use’ it. My hope is that social networking sites will eventually address this pirating problem by integrating more safety measures into their programming.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
I won’t begin to try and predict the future for PS and LR as I’m one of those artists that’s just riding the PS/LR wave and loving it!