Today I took advantage of Adobe being in town (which, by the way, is super cool) and I saw Chris Orwig speak. Now, you may have heard of Chris before (he's the author of Visual Poetry, published by Peachpit Press who are in Berkeley and publish all sorts of cool photography books).
Anyway, his talk was truly inspiring, and I wrote copious notes. Ever since I got out of school I've discovered that I really love taking notes; organizing someone else's ideas on paper is very satisfying for me.
[Side note: sometimes Evan swears that I am secretly OCD, because I get annoyed when he does things like put my pens out of order (I arrange them by color), and I also get peeved if he puts groceries away in the wrong place. I counter that I am only SELECTIVELY OCD, because in most other things chaos doesn't bother me, and I can leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. You know, if the dishwasher's full or something. End side note.]
Some of the things he said that really stuck with me:
-Use your camera to listen. I love this idea. When I'm happiest with my camera, that's what I'm doing.
-Bring your passions together. Shoot what you're passionate about. This is something I had never really examined in my own shooting before. I think I already do, but maybe not enough. It's something I'm going to work on.
-Surround and immerse yourself in what you love. I already probably spend too much time reading, thinking, breathing, and practicing photography, but I guess I appreciated someone telling me that it's ok to do that.
-Reduce, simplify, and deepen.
-Be engaged, focused, and alive.
As a teacher, I appreciated his lecturing style. Several times he asked us to discuss something with the person sitting next to us. Not only did this spice things up, it also made us more into participants and less into just watchers and listeners. I also came away from the experience knowing my seatmate (hi Terry!) and that's always good. If you can have community building and a lecture, then excellent.
Also, I really loved this question he posed. "How can you shoot basketball so that someone who isn't a basketball fan likes the shot?" The question is perfect for me, because I'm not a basketball fan, and much basketball photography leaves me cold. But some doesn't. What's different about the pictures that bridge the gap?
That, I guess, is the million dollar question.