Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How We Got Into Photography

Treatsy time!  You get to learn a little more about the blog's maintainers--at least in the sense of how Haley and Jen got into photography.  In addition to providing a bit more background information about us, the reader will, hopefully, understand the reasons behind how we approach photography in the ways that we do.

St. Paul's Cathedral and Bomb Damage - V-E Day, 1945
Jen:  The simplest way to put it is that I took a couple of photography classes during my last two years in high school.  There isn't really a long, involved process in how I initially grew interested photography other than the fact that I thought taking such a class with our flaky art teacher would be fun.  However, these high school classes actually did open my (critical) eyes--especially concerning composition, contrast, and color (the three C's...well, four, if you count the unintentional alliteration).  As I became increasingly interested in photography, I became increasingly interested in my maternal grandfather's occupation as a World War II photographer.

London Fish Market - 1945

I almost hate to admit it, but it really wasn't until then that I knew (or, er, remembered) the details of my grandfather's work.  Having died when I was age two, I didn't know Grandpa other than the many, many amusing stories regarding his eccentric character.  Looking back through his photographs, however, I realized that Grandpa's work--and these are mainly candid, unofficial photographs--were pretty damn good.  And since the photos really do speak for themselves, I won't go into detail about them--just take them in.

If I'm honest with myself, I hold Grandpa's talent as a form of encouragement: apart from inheriting a bit of his silliness, I also credit/blame his darned old genes for my interest in this art form.  Apart from just being good photos, many of Grandpa's works reflect parts of history--they capture a moment, no matter how small, and persevere through time.  If I am able to accomplish just a teeny bit of that through my amateur photography, I'll be a happy puppy.
Oh, and just one more photo:

Yup.  We're definitely related.

Stairs at Castle Frankenstein,
Darmstadt, Germany, November 1991
Haley:  Well, unlike Jen, I can't really pinpoint any particular inspiration for my interest in photography.  I don't remember a time when it wasn't an interest except, perhaps, early childhood.  My first cameras, naturally, were little disposable ones bought on vacations.  I remember a vacation to the Smoky Mountains that yielded some of the first photographs I would (and still do) consider to be good.  I also vaguely remember possessing some sort of cheap film camera at one point or another.  

Like Jen, some of my photographic background has been influenced by my family.  I grew up around a lot of photography.  We have numerous and enormous family photo albums filled with photos (of varying embarrassment levels *grumble grumble*bathtime*grumble*) taken by both my parents.  One of my favorite things to do when I was bored as a child was to break these out and study all the pictures. I'd post one, but I must again cite the potential for embarrassment.  My mother is quite artistic, and my father, I know, has had an interest in photography for quite some time.  Though, I didn't know quite how much until I was shown some of his photography recently (see above). 

My uncle, mother, and aunt ca. 1957
But overall, I would say the influence is not particularly overt.  It's simply that I've always been exposed, not just to photography, but good photography for most of my life.  Or, perhaps my awesomesaucemness (see Jen, aside from modesty, what really allows one to wordsmith is a degree in English, not military publishing) is genetics.  My maternal grandfather, was quite the amateur photographer:  he even had a dark room in his basement.  I don't have any samples of some of his truly excellent work at hand, but suffice to say he was quite good. I mean, even the candid family photos he took were pretty darn spiffy.

My aunt, uncle, and mother
All told, I have to credit my all around, incredibly artistic family for my own natural tendencies.  I think that being exposed to so much creativity and in particular this medium, has influenced my own tastes and abilities.


  1. Hey, I recognize those pictures! I KNOW those people from somewhere.....

    Can't wait to see more ladies!

    PS- I'm clicking Anonymous down there because I don't know what else to click....

  2. Thanks, Aunt Caiti! There should be plenty more to come!

  3. Your Grandfather would be proud. He would have loved to teach you everything he knew about printing in his darkroom. Your Grandmother would, of course, have already framed and hung much of your work on her walls. Please post more of your many good ones of people, plants and places.

  4. I love this! Jen, that last photo is wonderful! Haley, the 1957 is just wonderful. Thank you both for sharing these!