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At the end of my last post I had decided to close my studio. I open this post with the admission that I’m glad I did! I still keep in touch with many of my old clients and studio-mates, but talking to them about work is not a cheery walk down memory lane — it’s a bummer. Fewer and fewer photographers have their own studios. The majority share, but in cramped conditions. Now you’ll find five photographers sharing 2,000 square feet: a ratio likely to create stress and conflict. Some photographers I know shoot family portraits for the general public, something that would have been embarrassing for them to pursue ten years ago.
My work is much more solitary now and I miss the camaraderie of other photographers, assistants, and stylists (and the catered lunches!) that I had in the studio. Sometimes I don’t speak with anyone in person, except a motel clerk, for months. I joke that when I get back home from one of my trips, I hand my wife a credit card and ask for a non-smoking room. Still, I consider myself very fortunate. On an almost daily basis I get to see some truly magnificent sights and I get to drink some of the best and worst road coffee out there. (Best: ANY Scandinavian country. Worst: the U.S.).
As for my landscape photography, it’s still a work in progress. I‘m relatively new to it, and while it didn’t take too long to master the technical aspects, I’m still trying to figure out why I’m drawn to certain subjects. It took me a while to realize that my fondness for a minimal style, often having a center oriented composition and a high-key or white background, was a direct result of having spent more than 20 years shooting minimal, center oriented, often white background product photographs. I guess that even when you change directions, you still carry some of the momentum from your earlier motion.
Change is inevitable and it’s often feared, but I consider my change from advertising to landscape photography an opportunity. For me now, my work is more satisfying than ever, and life is simpler. That’s a change for the better.