So I just got this film back and was so excited. Lately I've been processing how and why my love of photography has grown hand and hand with my love for arranging flowers. I've always loved photography but have not always understood it. Occasionally I'd get a good shot but most of the time I'd end up puzzled as to why what I saw in front of me was not what turned up in the photo. Well, I married a photographer. A photographer and his cameras. Which is key. Honestly, with cameras, you generally do get what you pay for so having access to a big bad Nikon D3 and a Hassalblad 500cm and a dozen amazing lenses has shortened my learning curve quite a bit.
As I began to get busy doing flowers I wanted to document my work. So I had Scott shoot the photos. But he wasn't always around as he has a life outside of shooting photos of my flower arrangements (how dare he). Basically I had to start learning how to do it myself. How to operate a camera. Let me just say that it's pretty complicated at first. Aperture, depth of field, shutter speed, ISO. It's intense. I mean, you don't have to get into all of that - you can use a digital camera and set it on automatic everything and shoot away, but that was never going to do it for me. Not to mention that Scott made me shoot manual because he said that's the only way people learn photography. How do you make the camera capture the image you want it to reflect back to you? This is what I wanted to know.
As a kid I was the type who would make better grades in the classes that were the hardest. I guess I like a good challenge. I like to learn and I'm REALLY curious. And I've come to know this about myself - I learn by watching and doing, not by sitting still, reading and listening. So I'm kind of a handful of a student. I say this to Scott a lot - "No, let me do it with my own hands." Not at all irritating I'm sure... Anyway, I made myself learn how to shoot photos and I'm still learning. I started out with the digital camera on manual, refusing to shoot "aperture priority" per Scott's rules. I mean, your not really getting it if the camera is choosing your shutter speed and aperture for you. I'm just saying that's a little robotic. After a while I started getting the hang of it and wanted to learn to shoot film with a truly manual camera. It was a new world. Not better than digital, just different. A little stressful at first for the perfectionist in me honestly, but very rewarding.
I've had a similar experience with flowers. I started using Oasis floral foam to arrange flowers but over time developed an interest in learning the old school techniques - working with a frog, chicken wire, etc. Technically , I've never been trained. I just liked the way certain florist's work looked who I knew used those techniques so I set out to teach myself how to incorporate them into my work. I have a general philosophy about learning new things: It can't be that hard; people have been doing this for hundreds of years, right? This of course is not true of all endeavors, for instance rocket science or surgery, but generally I think it applies. My point is, if you're curious about something, try it and keep trying it. Don't paint by numbers. You don't have to read 30 books about it. Just start doing it. You won't be good at first, Period. But if you keep doing it and you keep watching people do it enough, you'll get better. Seek to truly understand the fundamentals of how something works and over time your own work will progress. Not only will it improve technically, it will be unique. It will have your hand, reflect your eye. So if you're interested in something, go hold it in your own hands, it's a great way to learn and keep learning.