ForwardWhat’s up, guys? I’m going to keep this one pretty casual, as I intend to write more blogs in the weeks to come, but I don’t want to see blogging as “work” or something that I “have to do”. I’m only writing this blog because I legitimately have things that I need to say. I’m going to update you guys on where my head has been recently, the ups and downs that I’ve had to endure, and how I overcame the odds and found fresh inspiration as a photographer and, in general, as an artist. Thanks. 🙂
Not to start off on such a gloomy note, but my father sadly passed away just last month. So, that’s the reason that I’ve been a bit more quiet than usual (which is usually fairly quiet–more on this later). It was a very shocking revelation, and truly put things into perspective for me. I suppose one could say that I have a rather unique outlook on death, in that I don’t fear nor worry about it; instead, my fear lies in the thought of not fully accomplishing my dreams before the time runs out. I also turned thirty on the fourteenth of this month, and though I am still young, the past few months have further opened my eyes to my own ticking clock. I’ll miss you so much, Dad.
Confusion: My journey in the arts, and through the world of photography
I’ve always been drawn to the beautiful imagery of film, where at a very young age, I first laid eyes on classics such as King Kong ’33 and The Wizard of Oz ’39, to name a few. By my late teens, I had become rather interesting in filmmaking, and completed my first feature-length screenplay a little over a decade ago (where does time go?). In fact, I had just recently finished outlining–as well as having started scripting–a brand new screenplay just weeks before my Dad passed; I really like the concept and will return to finish it when I am ready.
I had a bit of experience with editing and shooting on video cameras, such as the Panasonic HVX200 even earlier, and wanted a camera to call my own more than anything. Perhaps other photographers and videographers can relate to me when I say that I never feel more alive than when behind a camera; it has always been a truly magical experience for me.
A few years afterward, I was working a job in the electronics department of Sears–a job that I initially thought I would like, due to being surrounded by gadgets and gizmos; this couldn’t be further from the truth. The redeeming factor was that I also oversaw the camera department, where, every day, I would gaze at the latest piece of gear–the Canon T3i. Not only would this camera allow me to shoot decent photographs, but it also had a 1080p video mode that shot at 24 frames per second. “It could be mine some day,” I thought.
I worked hard for a while, ate cheap, and saved money for the Canon that summer; eventually, it was mine. My first intention was to make a few low-budget short films, but I found myself falling in love with the photography side of things. I learned as much as I could about lighting, composition, and the exposure triangle. I went out for more sessions of street photography than I can remember, and enjoyed every minute of it. Even when shooting portraits or other professional work, it is street photography that keeps me calm and fills a missing part of my soul, I would say.
Long story short, I moved to several different places across the states over the next several years. I eventually upgraded to my first full frame camera–the Canon 5D, and then to the Canon 5D Mark II. I had drooled over the infamous “full frame” for quite some time, but I just didn’t connect with those cameras in a way that I had hoped for. Still, I shot a bunch of great stuff under my business Krista Michaels Photography (headshots, portraits, boudoir, etc). The 5D Mark II was my workhorse for a while, and it was a fantastic camera, but photography had become a bit stale for me, at the time. I just wanted to take a camera out onto the streets of Los Angeles without the worry of carrying around a heavy, cumbersome machine. The answer to this problem was soon revealed to me–the Fujifilm X-T1. It was compact, lightweight, and was able to capture the photos of my dreams. I got a bit of flack from some friends for reverting back to the “inferior” APS-C, but I truly felt that it was one of the best decisions I ever made; I happily sold off my Canon gear when I realized that the Fujifilm camera could also be used in my professional work, as well. I never looked back.
Over the next several years, my fiancée–Jess–and I saw a series of events that were rather unfortunate, to say the least. We had our ups and downs (both financial and personal), had to sell off a bunch of things (including my camera gear), and moved to various locations on the east coast (from NY to VA). Sometimes, bad things happen, but you can’t let it get you down; you just have to remember the things that make you happy. For a short while, my mind was a bit fuzzy on the matter.
I worked almost reclusively over the next few years illustrating a comic, and it was published on comiXology. It was a lot of work, and it was what I was doing to fill my schedule. But it was still only photography that I thought about. It was around this time that I realized that photography was what made me truly happy, and that I had an inner need to do it, whatever the costs. I managed to get a new camera (the Fujifilm X-E2, soon to be replaced by my old friend–the X-T1 🙂 ), did some work shooting models for a company for a while, and started posting on social media a bit more. As mentioned previously, I’m quiet on social, and don’t talk about my personal life too much, but I do intend to change that soon.
For quite a while, I had been in a slump, and wanted nothing more than to create more imagery; it’s just about the only thing that really does make me happy. So, I remembered where I came from, artistically-speaking, and began watching classic cinema again–everything from my favorite De Palma films to Fellini and Ingmar Bergman. Everyone will have their own personal influences when it comes to their art, and this was mine. Whenever I get down, I know that Kubrick or Hitchcock can easily cheer me up. Many of my own personal influences in film tend to have a very unique visual style, and that is what greatly attracts me, perhaps even more so than a lot of still photographers that I also admire.
I have a lot of special projects that I have planned for my photography. I have an entire notepad full of ideas that I want to photograph (mostly outdoor portraits with pretty models; I prefer natural light, for what it’s worth). I’ll also be sure to write some future blog posts with tutorials and walkthroughs of my photoshoots. I mentioned a lot of gear in this blog, just so that you would have an idea for my experience with certain brands and models, but I must be honest about something: it is not the gear that makes me happy, but the photographs. The tools only aid us in the creation of our art, but it is the passion for the art that makes our hearts sing; lately, my heart has been singing again. We tend to lose track of who we are sometimes in this corporatized world, but I feel that I’m finally starting to get back to my roots in my thinking as an artist. Thanks for reading.