Is it too obvious to say that this image is special to me? I want this to be the subject of my first blog post to launch my new website and landscape photography business because it sums up a lot about me and what I want out of life these days. That’s quite a bit of pressure for one picture, especially when the subject matter, the Fisherman, didn’t even know I took it or that I’ve looked at it hundreds of times over the years.
LIFE IN ST.JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND
In 2008 I was living in St.John’s (that’s Canada for anyone stumbling onto this blog) shooting weddings non-stop, up to 5 a week if you can fathom that. I lived it and I can’t even imagine it – the energy and folly of youth ammiright?!? My parents have always lived in the Eastport area three hours outside of town (‘town’ is synonymous with St.John’s for the before-mentioned stumblers who haven’t stopped reading yet), more specifically Happy Adventure. Yes, that’s a real place and it can be pure magic. I love being on the water and I love going fishing with my dad, so basically whenever I could or if I was shooting in the area I would visit the folks. On one of those visits I scrounged up a boat ride and took my Canon 70-200 F2.8 lens, for photographers it’s the sweet spot of portrait lenses. That’s how I got this dreamy, misty, quisitive image of the Fisherman.
LIFE’S LITTLE QUESTIONS
What he was looking at and why literally never entered my mind in 14 years, but for everyone else who’s seen it it’s their first question “What was down there?”. I know him, I could’ve asked him, he lives two minutes from me right now, and my Dad dropped him off a 12×18 print of this today. Yes, it took almost a decade and a half to even show the man his own portrait. Earlier today dad gave him the print, the Fisherman was happy and when dad said ‘I’ve been wondering what you were looking at” he said “I have no idea!”. Mystery solved.
ARE YOU STUCK?
Over the years of living away and traveling the world (the past 9 years in Colorado), occasionally I’d come across this image on my laptop or on an external hard drive and remember that day; I’d remember the time in my life where I was not often slowing down to enjoy the ride but this was a reminder of peaceful times. And funny enough, a reminder that I could document all sorts of moments, not just weddings. I say that not to degrade the wedding industry (trust me, it is hard work, a lot of fun but also a bit of a grind, though I was lucky enough to have amazing clients, many I still call friends) but to encourage artists who have maybe gotten a little stuck. If you’ve been shooting the same way, with the same gear, in the same places you might not realize how many other things you’re capable of.
Remember: not every image has to be a National Geographic Image of the Year, it just has to mean something. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be good at your craft, but that’s subjective. Do the best you can right now and push yourself to go a little further.
MAJOR SHIFTS ARE COMING
When I made the major shift from weddings into landscape (I still take a little portrait work) it was jarring, there is guaranteed money in weddings (let’s be real here!) and not so much with landscapes. But I promised myself years ago that I would not base my life and work decisions on money. It can’t be about that. A) people deserve better than that when they’re paying for a service, the person they’re paying should WANT to be there and B) I deserve better than that. In the one life I have you can bet your aspen I’m going to try new things and enjoy it.
The 80 year old me is going to thank the 40-something year old me for taking risks, changing course, and spending her time where it brings the most joy.
You can purchase your own print of the Fisherman (in black and white) and other Newfoundland images on my fine art print site:
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