Cincinnati native Amy Hildebrand was born completely blind due to albinism, a disorder in which the body is unable to produce melanin (the pigment that gives color to hair, skin, and eyes). After receiving a special surgery as a teen that drastically improved her eyesight, Hildebrand fell in love with photography and went on to study it in college. She is now a successful commercial photographer and is nearly finished with an ambitious “1000 photos in 1000 days” project she started in 2009. Her mother says that Amy’s albinism is actually an advantage in her photography:
As sighted people we have so much information we are processing because our eyesight is seeing so much. It complicates it. But in Amy’s view of the world, she’s so used to seeing things in intimate spaces, that she’s learned to appreciate what’s in front of her. [#]
You can find Hildebrand’s commercial work here, and her photography blog here.
Framed is a beautiful and creative short film about a photographer taking pictures in the woods when he encounters something unexpected. French filmmaker Mael Sevestre filmed the entire thing using an iPhone 4S and built a custom rig for recording footage through the old twin lens reflex camera seen in the film.
Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.
That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever. [#]
The phrase was taken from a quote by the 17th century Cardinal de Retz, who stated, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.”
Do you feel like the quality of your photography falls short of where you want it to be? Don’t worry: every creative goes through a period in their growth in which there’s a disappointing gap between their “taste” and their work. Here’s an inspiring video in which Ira Glass encourages people going through this to push through and to not give up.
Here’s an old clip in which Steve Jobs talks about how he sees the world:
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
All the most famous and powerful images captured throughout history were shot by ordinary human beings as well…
Here’s another cool example of what’s possible when you combine creativity with an insane amount of dedication: animator Jonathan Chong spent hundreds of hours creating this stop motion video for the song “Against The Grain” by the Australian band Hudson. He animated everything by hand, and captured 5125 individual photographs of 920 pencils for the three-minute long finished product. Read more…
If you think you can’t compete as a photographer because you’re past a certain age, think again. Here’s a fantastic quote by National Geographic Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns from an interview he gave back in 2005:
There are a lot of exciting photographers out there. Our new director of photography, David Griffin, and assistant director Susan Smith are making a much stronger push than we have in the past to identify young, emerging talent. They’re not necessarily age-specific either. Often photographers start to find their traction in their 50s.
Johns also says that photography’s transition to digital has also helped photographers develop more quality; getting feedback is easier than ever, and many of the prohibitive costs are no more.
Australian photographer Liam McHenry tells the inspiring story of an encounter he had with a confrontational teenager when doing street photography. What started out as a situation spiraling out of control instantly changed when his subject suddenly “understood” his photography. McHenry says that the big revelation he had through the experience was: “it’s never just a photo.”
Here’s an inspiring and educational video in which Marc Silber sits down to chat with photographer Michael Zagaris — a man who has had a career as the official shooter for both rock bands (e.g. Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin) and sports teams (e.g. San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A’s).
Here’s an inspiring video in which photographer and speaker Dewitt Jones talks about how he looks for “right answers” when he was doing assignments for National Geographic. Rather than specific tips or techniques, he mostly talks about high level ideas while showing off some of his stunning photographs.