Photography Mission 2015

I am sitting here in the dark in my bedroom because I always feel awkward turning the light on when my roommate is here. Never mind that our windows face east and that the sun starts setting around 5:30 making our room pretty dark by 6 pm. But she doesn’t seem all that concerned with the inability to see, so I leave the light off even though I’m sitting right next to the switch. You might be wondering what any of that has to do with photography, and I can assure you that it has everything to do with the subject. How? Well, I recently invested in a wonderful book:

The Photographer's Playbook

This year I vowed to myself and my friends that I would do more with my camera than I did in 2014. I realize that, in a way, such a promise is actually quite a large undertaking given that this is the year that I, hopefully, graduate and take the next step in my life’s journey. (I say hopefully because anything could happen, though things are looking pretty on-track as of right now. I pray they remain that way.)

Still, if I’m going to make a promise to myself to step back behind my camera and produce more work, hone my skill, and make more amazing memories, then I need to take the appropriate actions to see my goal through to the end. One way of doing that was seeking inspiration through a good book. I first came across Fulford and Halpern’s The Photographer’s Playbook while tagging along with my friend at Urban Outfitters. There’s not much I’m interested in at that particular store, but I did find its quaint book section to be worth checking out. That’s when I found TPP and decided to read the summary on the back cover. It sounded like the book for me, and a few weeks later I found myself saving some money buying the book on Amazon. Now it is in my possession and I couldn’t be more excited.

There are 307 assignments, ideas, stories, and pieces of advice in the book. I am having a field day marking the crap out of the various things I want to try. Not everything applies to me at the moment and where I’m at. Some are things I can’t feasibly complete right now. Still, my highlighters have been going to town on this book picking out advice that resonates with me and ideas worth attempting.

I think it’s important to take time to discover books like these for the subjects you’re interested in. I’m often very bad about actively participating in my own learning by going out and seeking knowledge for myself. But if it’s a subject I’m really into, then I’m much more likely to go out looking for information. This is something I really should do more often when it comes to my involvement and love for theatre and education. I am, however, much more likely to branch out when it comes to photography. I like to look for inspiration in the work of others (though I am guilty of knowing little about actual famous photographers), read articles/blogs/books, teach myself stuff in Photoshop…it’s why I tell people that I am a “self-taught photographer.” Despite the occasional photography class I’ve taken, most of what I’ve come to know about and do with photography has been sought out on my own. Maybe that’s why I love having this art form as a hobby. I’m not perfect and I’m still an amateur, but I love every bit of it.

So this is for 2015 and the chance to do even more. There are strangers to meet, streets to walk, and mundane events and ordinary objects to perceive in new ways. This book is just the first step in exploring the world around me and taking that leap back into photography. And I certainly recommend The Photographer’s Playbook to anyone interested in reading advice, stories, and assignments from hundreds of other established artists. Photography Mission 2015 is underway and I can’t wait to start creating.

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