>A freelance writer, I spend most of the week in my office in front of a computer monitor. I enjoy my work, but I do need to get away from it, sometimes. Fresh air and sunshine are the best medicine for the overworked.
My escape of choice is landscape photography. Following my father's
shutterclicks, I started shooting pictures of scenery when I was ten years old. In those days, ISO was 15 and even the brightest sunlight required a steady hand,
Later, my husband
and I shot pictures together in Colorado's spectacular San Juan Mountains. Both of us taught elementary school in Los Angeles. We spent our summers in Ouray. I was thrilled when my Kodachromes were accepted by film stock agencies.
A few years before we became permanent residents of Colorado, the stock world changed forever. Some libraries were sold to CD distributers. Others just folded. I didn't mind very much. I have always taken pictures for myself, anyway. It was hard, however, to justify trips into the wild when I had paying work waiting.
Digital cameras and microstock have changed that. Now I have a great excuse to go outdoors a few times a week and shoot until my knees shake with joy.
Do I understand that pictures of "girls" and people in business suits glued to cell phones sell more? Of course! Do I want to shoot them? Heck no. Anybody can do that, if they need to earn a living. I already have a great creative job. I want to share beautiful pictures. It makes me happy, and judging from my steady sales, it makes some other people happy, too.
Am I an "amateur"? It depends on your definition. Literally, the word designates a person who performs an activity for the love of it. In that sense, yes, of course I am. The word, however, also implies a certain level of incompetence, which is not fair. Vincent Van Gogh did not make a dime from his work when he was alive, nor did he do paintings to match a market. Was he an amateur?
In my work as a professional writer, I take assignments. Much like a studio photographer who serves the needs of his clients, I determine my publishers' requirements and fulfill them. This task requires skill and creativity, but it is not the same thing as painting
. For me, taking pictures is an island of pure art, and, although I am sometimes tempted to attempt a money shot, I think I will continue to capture landscapes.
Why? A hillside of golden aspen still makes me tremble.