As creatives, and truly just as human beings, we often feel the need to look back at where we began in our lives, our careers, our friendships, and the journey of finding ourselves. Today, that pondering back in time goes back to when I became an "official professional photographer." I wonder if any photographer or artist can pinpoint the day that they felt they were truly the real deal, professional. Moving out of the amateur state is fluid. I believe you learn new things every day and are always evolving as a human, a creative, a professional, or whatever you may define yourself as. But I digress.
Back to this moment of "professionalism". In college I began working at a photography studio, one that shall rename unnamed, yet enviably, one of the largest, most known brands of portrait photography. Over the years as photography transformed from film to digital, this studio transitioned, yet lost momentum. It was in this persistent, yet struggling studio, that I met some of the most amazing people. As the years went on, we all eventually left at our own rate, yet we are still photography friends, and now, best friends. There is a popular hashtag on Instagram for #photofriends and that is what we will always be, forever. We discuss cameras and lighting like one would talk about the news or fashion trends.
While there are several that fit into that category of photography friends, I would like to highlight is my friend, Karmen. Karmen, who has an adventurous soul, wild heart, and contagious smile, is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. We have often gone on little photo adventures, our biggest landing us in the middle of the Californian desert. I have photographed her over the years, not for the reason of building my portfolio, but for the fact that I love documenting who she is as an individual. She always remarks that she cannot hold a serious look, but I believe, it's because she has this energizing smiling waiting to burst.
Her bubbling smile is representative of her positive personality. On dreary Michigan days such as this, I miss that positivity. Karmen, with her overflowing wild heart, headed off to California at the beginning of the year. So while our photo adventures may be limited together, she is living out a dream of hers and documenting her new surroundings. If you're interested in seeing her journey, pop over to Instagram and search #karmengoestocali to see her photographic talent as well as her documented story.
We both document life for what it is and when I think back on those early days of photographing in the studio, I am extremely grateful that we've moved beyond the monotony of studio shooting, and even more so, that we are such close friends. When I look back, I'm reminded not only of our adventures, but of the progression of ourselves as individuals, and photographers.
We will constantly be evolving.