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April 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm #31935Ruth HostermanSpectator
A photographer who had an impact on me as an artist, is a local businessman named Richard Simmons. He owns a little shop in a neighboring town. Rick gave me my first job working in the photography world. He did not give me a camera for my hands; instead I had to start from the bottom. I was trained to use a machine to develop the photographs he shot. I was mesmerized at the quality of his photographs. Until working for him, I did not pay attention to photographs or cameras. Other than the disk and 110 cameras, I’d never seen professional cameras up close. I was in awe of how I was able to see the wedding without being there. The brides were beautiful in their long, white, flowing, gowns and the men in their fashionable, flattering tuxedos. He was able to capture a tremendous amount of detail. With almost every photo, if you looked closely at the dress, you could probably count each sequin. The detail of every picture is what I admired most in his work, and I wanted the ability to take photographs like him. How did he do it? He used a Maiya RB67 camera and he said in time he would teach me how to use it. As time went on, I was asked to assist in different areas of the studio. The job I will never forget is when we shot film for someone doing a video audition. It was ‘Gone with the Wind’ and we captured Miss Scarlett as she made her way down the large staircase. After the audition film was complete, he taught me how to transfer photographs to VHS. It was definitely a new experience and opened a new passion for me. Since VHS had only been out for about two years, it was something I was eager to learn. It was definitely not like it is done today. It took time and patience, and I had both. Eventually, he encouraged me to purchase my first SLR. Unfortunately, I had to move on to my next adventure, so we ran out of time before he could teach me how to use it. However, the desire to learn how to take photographs with the same clarity in his photographs never left me. That desire resembles an ache deep in the pit of your stomach, which won’t go away until you feed it.
There is not one particular piece of work Rick created which was of importance to me; it was how I interpreted his work. Although I did not work much with film, what I learned from him while there has greatly impacted the quality of my work.
Rick’s photographs are mostly portraits and weddings, and each one is focused and detail oriented. The theme within his work makes it appear as if the wedding is what is of the greatest importance, but it is the details that he is able to capture which I strive to master. I enjoy shooting sports, portraits and weddings, but I prefer casual settings, more street photography. Details are where I falter. Had I stayed longer back then, under his talented wings, I would not be enrolled in photography school today.April 10, 2016 at 2:56 pm #31971Duncan RawlinsonKeymaster
It seems like you have an interesting and varied past and that’s great. It’s wonderful that you had someone in your life that was inspiring to you as well.
I believe you meant to say a mamiya rb67 but I’m not sure.
This is a medium format camera as I’m sure you know and medium format cameras are excellent for capturing exquisite detail. I often shoot with medium format when trying to achieve maximum sharpness and quality of in my photographs.
In fact this notion of detail seems to a be a theme in your piece. The importance of detail and texture can’t be underestimated when it comes to good photography.
Capturing details that may go otherwise unnoticed is of the great powers of a photographer. In fact if you can learn the skill of removing all that is non-essential from the frame of your camera you are on your way to making good images. It seems so simple but when it’s all happening and your senses are overloaded with stimuli it can be a real challenge to get this right.
This is why practice is so critical. I’m sure Mr Simmons practiced very hard and shot quite a bit to create the images that inspired you. Practice is one of the most underestimated elements of learning photography. Most people think you just need to get your settings right and you’ll get there. What they don’t realize is that getting your settings right is actually the easiest part. It’s everything after settings that’s truly essential and can only come with practice.
Have you spent much time looking at the works of the Masters Of Photography? If not I recommend that you take some time and do so. I’ve found that physical books are the best way to do this.
If you’re asking yourself why does inspiration matter take a look at these videos.
Nice work here and see you on the next assignment.
(Remember you can always email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org to get help!)
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