I often say that photography is my first love. I became smitten with what I could do with a camera as a teen when I learned how to make black-and-white prints in high school. I studied photojournalism at Southern Alberta lnstitute of Technology in the mid 1970s (B.C. - Before Computers). I had an amazing instructor, Terry Cioni. Tough but fair.
I fell in love again when I bought my first point-and-shoot digital camera. I lost that one in Paris but as soon as I could I replaced it -- with a Lumix G1. Then later a G7. Now with two Lumix cameras -- G9 and G95 -- and a shelf full of lenses, I'm set. Lumix Love! But I always remember what Terry said, "It's the six inches behind the camera that matters."
-- Henri Cartier-Bresson
I've become more and more passionate about photography in recent years. Doing a 365 project a few years ago helped me to narrow my focus. I highly recommend that discipline but doubt I'll do it again. Although I enjoy photographing almost anything, my favourite days are those when I get to spend time with someone with the explicit purpose of getting a good image, one that genuinely reflects who my subject is.
I'm a retired counsellor so I've had years of practice reading facial expressions, body language, and helping people to relax. I can tell when we need to shake it up a bit and try again. Don't be nervous, dealing with your jitters is MY job.
As for the powwow photos...I lived next door to a jingle dress champion dancer for about 6 years. I was intrigued by powwow but had never been to one. She invited me and said, "bring your camera." The rest, as the cliche goes, is history. Since then, I've made some dear friends in the powwow community. I am honoured to show the beauty and pride of powwow to those who have never experienced it. And, to reflect back to the dancers that they're still here, still strong, still beautiful. If you've never been, check out a powwow near you!
I often say to those who see me at powwows "Come find me, I don't blend. White woman. White hair." I'm joking a bit of course. I'm not a young photographer any more and yet, aging has its advantages. I have a better sense of what I want in life and this translates into my photography, particularly into my portrait work. I won't simply take your photo, I'll get to know you.
Thank you to Ryan Hermanson for the photo!