Photogeneralist.com » Photograph it all, enjoy it all, learn from it all

Interview with Chester County, Pa photographer Michelle Stallman Billetta

This interview is with Chester County Pennsylvania based amateur photographer Michelle Stallman Billetta.

I met Michelle via Facebook in mid 2009 after seeing some really great images she was posting to her Facebook wall. With a little bit of prompting on Facebook Michelle started her own photoblog to share her images with a larger community. Michelle’s photoblog is located at:  http://mbilletta.aminus3.com/ and prints can be purchased by emailing her through the photoblog.

While Michelle is not a big name photographer, and truthfully isn’t widely known yet, I think many readers will find inspiration in Michelle’s work. She doesn’t have as much time to devote to her photography as many do, or have all the latest and greatest photography equipment, but she still posts new photos almost every day from within a small core area around her home in rural southeast Pennsylvania. Not all of  the images Michelle posts will knock your socks off but there is very often a fresh and unique vision shown through them. And when you learn how and with what she captures her photos I think you will be truly impressed by most of her images! I know I am. It isn’t the camera or the subject in front of it- it’s all about the photographers vision.

MSB- This scene is simplicity at it's finest. The vast nothingness surrounding this beautiful lone tree is my attempt to capture dreamers hearts.

DC:

Can you tell us just a little about yourself?

Michelle:

Sure. I’ve lived in Chester County for almost 30 years now. I grew up in Downingtown, and went to ESU (East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania). I have a degree in Exercise Physiology and was a personal trainer for many years. I was a competivie gymnast my whole life, and after my personal training years, I worked in the corporate world for Sara Lee before I left to raise my boys.

DC:

How many boys do you have and their ages?

Michelle:

I have Mario who is 7, and Dominic who is 3.

MSB- This is always a reminder to me, everyday when you step outside, you truly never know what amazing things you are going to see. Had I not been holding my camera, I may have never come across something like this again.

DC:

One of the reasons I wanted you to be the first photographer interviewed for the blog is because I know that you are a “mom with camera” who is creating good imagery on a very regular basis and also with minimal equipment. Tell us a little about the photography equipment you use.

Michelle:

Thanks, Dan. I have a Kodak Easyshare Z812 IS 35 mm camera with 8.1 megapixels and 12x zoom. I use the Kodak Easyshare software that came with the camera to edit my photos on the computer. That’s it!

DC:

Just to clarify for the readers- you are creating all your images with a Kodak point and shoot and no Photoshop or any other post processing software?

Michelle:

That is correct.

MSB- I had so much fun taking these everyday birds on a wire and trying many different things and showcasing them in a unique and artistic way.

DC:

When did you start taking pictures and why? Did it start with getting a camera to take pictures of your kids and then progress from there?

Michelle:

In 2006, I entered a vacation photo contest, and it was a picture of my son. I had never taken any landscape pictures ever before. I won the contest, and started to take more pictures. I took a couple of “pretty” pictures for screensavers for myself, and by 2007 I had a whopping 12 landscape shots. I entered one into a Chester County Daily Local News Calendar contest, and won the cover. I was hooked ever since. The more landscapes I took, the more hooked I got!

DC:

Is the Kodak p&s you mentioned your first camera?

Michelle:

No, I had two Sony Cyber Shots before that. Also, I wanted to clarify, it sounded like I took pictures because I won those two contests, but that was just nice incentive to keep going, the real reason I started taking pictures, was because the more I took, the more I loved it.

DC:

You primarily show landscapes from the local area where you live. Do you photograph other subjects as well that you don’t show? I’d have to guess as a other of two boys that they are often in front of the camera too?

Michelle:

MSB- Shot on the coldest, dreariest most miserable day, and the beauty it brings to me is why I love photography so much.

Yes, my boys are about the only other subject I shoot that the pictures aren’t “put out there” very much. I don’t photograph them as much as one might think, but I do have fun and I don’t bug them much because I love to get the candid shots the most, when they aren’t paying attention to the fact that I am shooting. I love to photograph them outdoors just capturing their youth and joy.

DC:

Being a mother as everyone knows takes a lot of time and commitment. You post a photo almost every day. Some are of course better then others! How do you find the time to photograph as often as you do around your responsibilities as a mom? Do you photograph every morning? And is it an escape from those responsibilities when you do?

Michelle:

It is very tough, although I have worked into somewhat a small routine with my photos. I shoot about 1-2 hours per week. On a weekend I can usually get out for about an hour or so, and sometimes my older son will shoot with me, so I make it something we can do together. Other times, if perhaps I am taking my younger son to pre-school. or if we are heading to the store, I always leave 10-15 minutes early, to leave time to take the back roads, and pull over and shoot if something stikes me. The kids know I drive slow, and we stop a lot, but it’s just what we do now. We run around a lot, so in that respect, I have enough opportunities to shoot. Editing is done anytime after 8pm when they are both sleeping. Do I edit insead of doing laundry sometimes? Heck yes, but I do justify it as a passion that makes me happy, and therefore, I am a happy mom for my children.

DC:

Many of the images of yours that I love have a unique and fresh viewpoint about them. Naive if you will, but in a good way. Have you been inspired by the works of other photographers or do you try to emulate the style of work you see from other photographers? (Having spoken with you about this before I know the answer but I think it will be good for readers to hear).

MSB- What is it about the mystery of reflection? I can not get enough of it. Add that to a foggy mysterious day, and the end result is just the beginning.

Michelle:

Naive, I will admit. I love looking at other photographers work very much, but I keep it as a separate entity in my photo world. I don’t want to shoot like anyone else, which is the reason I have resisted taking photo classes (although it’s not a secret to myself that I could use some professional tips, who couldn’t?)Some of my unique perspectives simply come from limitations, such as I can even get out of the car while shooting, because I can’t leave my son in there! Other times, during my editing process, I typically quickly trash any and all pictures that look like typical stereotype photos that anyone can take. I hope that makes sense.

DC:

It certainly does. Do you ever feel limited photographically by the small geographic area that you are able to take most of your photos? Any dreams or aspirations of places you want to photograph not in your neighborhood?

Michelle:

Of course. On one hand, I feel so lucky to live in Chester County, every road I turn down has beauty, and beauty in four seasons! But my everyday routine can only take me so far, that’s where some more creativity can come in too. But yes, lately I have felt like okay, how much longer can I keep going in the same 5 mile radius? It’s frightening sometimes! I would definitely love to shoot in any area of beauty. My travel is so limited, but someday, I would love to shoot out West, Arizona, New Mexico, and a bigger dream would be Italy, of course.

DC:

Since you are using pretty basic equipment, a Kodak p&s, compared to many photographers today, and with having taking photos for awhile with it, do you find yourself wanting to upgrade to newer equipment like a DSLR with multiple lenses?

Michelle:

MSB- See beauty everywhere. Never take anything for granted, not even a simple dragon fly, and look what you can capture!

Most definitely. A new camera is hopefully not too far off, but with the economy, I have to put all of the children’s expenses ahead of my own, so a new camera is kind of low on the list, after Karate and baseball! Also, I haven’t pushed the issue to the fullest, because although I don’t know how much better and easier things can be, in the same respect, things seem to be working for me fairly well right now with what I’ve got. I love to just shoot, and the simpler the better.I know there are some things you really like about my photography, but from a professional standpoint, does my lack of “everything” show very clearly to someone like you in my work? I’m thinking it does, but most people aren’t you!

DC:

Only sometimes it does. Your really good images stand on their own in all regards and I think that knowing you are creating those images with limited equipment, software, and also limited technical knowledge and skills should be very inspiring to those photographers out there who feel that they can’t take great photos with what they currently have at their disposal.

Michelle:

Cool.

DC:

Well with new equipment things get more expensive and more complicated. How about the desire to learn post processing in Photoshop? Clearly you can do some adjustments in Easyshare to complete your vision. Do you ever find yourself not being able to finish an image to complete your vision because of not having extra post processing capabilities?

Michelle:

MSB- Driving up my driveway late one night, I looked over to see the moon somewhat near but not on top of the tree, and it just hit me, the true spirit of Christmas. I wanted that moon on the top of my tree, and I froze trying to make that happen. It was worth it!

All the time! There are so many images that are so “close” to being just what I want, except for the one thing I can’t fix (and I know I could in photoshop) and I have to trash the picture, knowing my idea is so there. Just hearing a fellow photographer telling how he ps out telephone lines, I didn’t even know you could do that!

My pics have to be telephone wire free from the get go, and that is an impossible feat in itself. Other times, though, I am more proud of an image that is truly just not “enhanced” or tampered with, and is just a lucky right place right time shot.

MSB- What is not shown here, is my two little boys swinging on the tire swing beside this bench. In a moment of sadness, I shot this envisioning how different things will be when they have grown up and moved forward with their lives. The title "Hold On" symbolizes the fallen leaves, and me,holding onto my children.

DC:

Do you sell many prints of your work? And any long term aspirations for your photography?

Michelle:

It was not my initial intention to sell prints, but thanks to Facebook, people became exposed to my photos and started asking to buy them. I have also sold them in the Gallery, so I’m very happy with how they are selling, it is very slow but kind of steady. Not enough to make a living, but enough to keep me incredibly inspired that people are hanging my photos on their wall, it’s the greatest feeling ever! One of my greatest aspirations is to do book covers someday.

DC:

Thank you Michelle. I hope that this interview will inspire others to make the most of the equipment and time they have just as you do. Any closing thoughts?

Michelle:

Just that I want to thank you so much for choosing me for your incredibly fantastic and inspiring site. I am very honored, you are a great guy who is so highly respected in the photography world and I only hope I have given you something that can make your site even more powerful than it already is. You have helped me so much in so many ways, and I hope I have returned the favor in some small way. Thank you Dan!

DC:

Thank you Michelle!

ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST COPYRIGHT MICHELLE STALLMAN BILLETTA.

Robert KruhFebruary 3, 2010 - 5:17 am

Wonderful photographs :-)

RobertaFebruary 2, 2010 - 12:41 pm

Terrific interview, and Michelle what an inspiration! A great advocate for smashing the conception of having to have the latest and greatest gear to create beautiful imagery!

anita.bower@yahoo.comFebruary 1, 2010 - 5:50 pm

Great questions! Great subject! I love that she uses a point and shoot, that she is a full-time mother, and that her photos are liked by others. Good job, Dan.

marty golinFebruary 1, 2010 - 12:55 pm

This is a wonderful thing.

Nocturne Landmarks, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia skyline reflected in the Schuylkill River.

City Hall viewed from Logan Circle in Philadelphia

Boat House Row, Philadelphia

All photos copyright 2010 Daniel P. Creighton

All Rights Reserved

Anita BowerFebruary 2, 2010 - 8:46 pm

Stunning! Outstanding! Wow!

marty golinFebruary 1, 2010 - 12:46 pm

Hey Philly!!! Here’s your new poster of City Hall! I especially like that you got both red & green lights.

Ed HeatonFebruary 1, 2010 - 8:56 am

As always excellent work Dan!

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:44 pm

Thank you Nancy!

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:44 pm

Thanks Roberta! Glad you popped back in! I won’t post large photos together like that often. I plan on using flash to show multiple photos mostly starting with thumbnails clickable for a larger view. Check back when you can as I’ll be trying new things until I find my rhythm with the site.. Hopefully most posts will be faster!

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:42 pm

Thanks John! Sometime when you are in the area we should meet up and shoot (or just shoot the…)

John MaslowskiJanuary 31, 2010 - 8:45 pm

Well Dan, each time I drive through Philly on the Schuylkill Expressway I say I’m going to stop and take some photos. Absolutely stunning images, great job!

RobertaJanuary 31, 2010 - 8:18 pm

Wow! Outstanding. I lost your RSS feed when you updated the blog. I like the new format, but I probably won’t be able to visit often since I’m not on high-speed & multiple images take a long time to load.

Nancy ThoringtonJanuary 31, 2010 - 5:54 pm

Whoa…………Dan
These are truly fantastic!!!!!!! WOW

The Shutterbug And It’s Bite

©Daniel P. Creighton

If you don't use what you have to it's fullest potential, you probably won't use what you think you need to it's fullest potential either!

If you are not using what you already have you probably won’t use what you think you need!  Every photographer that has gotten bit hard by the shutterbug quickly develops a dream list of photography equipment and more often than not due to the quick pace of technology that list is one that often stays long and unreachable.  How many photographers overlook the potential within the system that they own by believing that they need the new equipment to make quality photographs that they aren’t currently capable of creating?
This is one area where pros have a significant advantage. Professionals learn early on that it is important to purchase equipment that is needed to further expand creative and technical abilities and not as a cure for the poor photo blues.  And lets not forget that the income from photography helps to finance newer and better equipment.  Many amateurs have come to believe tha

t if they aren’t satisfied with the images they are creating that it must be because they don’t have enough equipment, the longest lens available, the right film or some other material concern.  With the proliferation of auto do everything cameras today many have come to expect fast and easy results and this is a real shame considering that with even the most basic equipment great photographs of nearly any subject are possible with just a little bit of ingenuity and hard work.
When I first started taking photos I purchased one camera body and one lens, a standard 50mm.  Because of early financial restraints, and the fact that the shutterbug took a few weeks to zero in on his hard and painful financial bite, I used that camera with that small light simple lens a lot. I also found ways to get closer and more intimate with my subjects which would later prove beneficial in a lot of my other photographic endeavors.  The 50mm lens wasn’t a hindrance as much as it’s field of view didn’t match my vision.  That is a vision of extremes- extremely close, wide, or tight.  Sound like a dream list was developing? Yes and no, but the shutterbug was definitely starting to find holes in my armor!
The next lens, again purchased because of it’s availability, was a 28mm f2.8.  This is the lens that finally started to match my vision. The ability to focus close, exaggerate the foreground perspective without much distortion and still show a subject in it’s environment meshed with my creative side.  This lens would become my work horse lens and as it would turn out a pay check
to future purchases.  Because this lens was my “next new toy” I again forced myself to use it to it’s fullest and learn it’s abilities and also the times when I could use other focal lengths to fill the gaps of my vision and abilities.  As people around me started to notice my improvement and by now my passion as the shutterbug bit hard and held on for dear life my hobby started to transition into a profession.  A profession would require more equipment…

And more equipment was sure to come but in all honesty the dream list wasn’t quickly filled and my buying habits followed the same paths as that of the equipment mentioned above.  Today the equipment that weighs me down and fills my bags and vehicle from assignment to assignment is carefully chosen and each and every item is there for a very specific reason learned from the equipment that came before it. The large amount of equipment I own now would possibly represent many photographers dream system but it isn’t the equipment that fulfills my dreams but the knowledge of years spent utilizing each and every new piece of equipment until I felt I couldn’t squeeze any more potential out of it.  On top of that I learned a bigger lesson. That lesson was that it was more important to acquire new knowledge and ways to use the little equipment I had than to actually have the next new piece of equipment. This is perhaps the wisest piece of advice I can give to beginners and amateurs- forget the purchase of “dream” equipment until you have gained the knowledge and the ability to use it to its fullest potential and that often this will only come after you have maximized the potential of the equipment currently owned and instead concentrate on the creative and problem solving matters in front of you.  Creative problem solving that only comes from hard work and a lot of ingenuity that is often spawned by having to overcome obstacles.
New equipment will not teach you exposure no matter how accurate the exposure system is. It won’t teach you to manually tweak the focus onto the eye of your subjects. It won’t teach you how to get close to your subject.  It won’t show you the light and it won’t make you a better photographer.  Becoming a better photographer comes from the creativity and knowledge hidden inside you that will be unlocked as you learn and improve as a photographer, not from the equipment which is simply just a tool waiting to fulfill your dreams.

All photos in this article were taken with a digital point & shoot camera (also known as a PHD camera- Push Here Dummy!).

It isn’t the camera that makes a good picture, it’s you!

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:45 pm

Thanks Ed.

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:45 pm

Thanks Mark!

Mark GrafJanuary 30, 2010 - 11:50 am

Great article Dan. Words we all need to reflect upon now and then when we feel the bug tugging!

Anita BowerJanuary 30, 2010 - 7:49 am

My philosophy exactly.

Ed HeatonJanuary 29, 2010 - 7:48 pm

Excellent article Dan and Sooooo true!

Good Morning Frost

Warm days and freezing temperatures at night make for great opportunities to photograph frost patterns early in the morning. With today’s high efficiency house windows the visits from Jack Frost aren’t as predictable as they used to be when I was a kid but there are still a couple of spots that you can count on finding frost in the morning. Any single pane window such as those in a garage or shed will usually have some frost but my favorite place to look is the windows of a vehicle. So next time conditions are ripe make sure to grab your macro lens and have some fun photographing frost patterns.

John MaslowskiJanuary 23, 2010 - 3:24 pm

Beautiful images Dan. Really like the new web site, very interesting narratives and of course great images. Remember you saying something new was in store for 2010. Like your new ideas.

Bob ToweryJanuary 23, 2010 - 2:03 pm

Absolutely lovely. Might even be worth leaving my car outside some night. Wonderful work and thanks for sharing!

Beth ChristmanJanuary 22, 2010 - 6:46 am

These are wonderful Dan! Like them a lot. Your write up was nice as well.

Nancy ThoringtonJanuary 21, 2010 - 7:07 pm

Nice Dan. Had never thought of this….very pretty. I don’t see much on my windows, but where I work…..another story.
Will have to try this.
Think my favorites are the first and last but like them all.
Love the color in the first image.

Ed HeatonJanuary 21, 2010 - 2:37 pm

Good stuff Dan! I’ve been wanting to work on a few frost shots, maybe over the weekend!

Now Listed On AllTop!

AllTop.com‘s photography page has long been a favorite stop of mine when surfing for whats happening with photography on a daily basis and it is an honor that Photogeneralist.com is now listed there. AllTop is an online aggregator that puts topics of interested together from top sites on the web. If you have a topic you like to follow and want to find new sites check out AllTop.com,  Check it out and scroll all the way to the bottom to see this sites most recent listings. You’ll see we are in great company by the sites you scroll past in the process! Thanks AllTop!

marty golinJanuary 25, 2010 - 1:03 pm

Congratulations. You are indeed in good company. & thank you for advising of the site; puts alot of good things in one place.

Melting Ice Details


I find it very interesting how the heat absorbed by a little leaf can cause it to melt the ice it is encased in much faster then the rest of the ice around it.

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:46 pm

Bob- Thanks for your recent visit and comments!

Bob ToweryJanuary 23, 2010 - 2:08 pm

Such delicate photography. I admire your skills.

Anita BowerJanuary 21, 2010 - 9:10 am

Great images! Idea: Could you make a decent income doing art shows the way Mike Moats does? See http://tinylanscapes.wordpress.com/2009/11/29/so-you-want-to-be-a-nature-photographer/

The Light Snow Fall

The last snow storm we had was a disappointment. My area only received a 1/2″ compared to several inches others received just a short distance away. Because of the lackluster snowfall I made other outdoor plans for the day but still wanted to at least photograph something before heading out into the cold.  Sometimes you just have to focus on what it is that still exists in an opportunity and in this case it was the last bit of snow falling. So instead of driving around searching fruitlessly for beautiful snowy landscape images I photographed the falling and blowing snow flakes in a more impressionistic way by making them the primary subject. All these photographs were from the comfort of my warm living room through my picture window. There is a photo in every situation, you just have to be open to seeing it.

marty golinJanuary 18, 2010 - 12:30 am

A much more graphic & appealing layout than the previous one, much more suited to groups of photos. Also nice to see the text, which seems to be increasingly important to you, to start rather than having the appearance of an after-thought at the end. Now I just have to convince the IT guys that I need a wide screen monitor at work. Regarding the images from your window, same concept really from a seat almost anywhere.

Anita BowerJanuary 16, 2010 - 4:54 pm

Beautiful series. Great example of using what is available to make great images!

Washington DC at night

A few weeks back a couple photos friend and I ventured to Washington DC to photograph the national Christmas at night in front of the Capitol building. Of course we spent some time in other areas of Washington DC too. I tried to find a few images to break away from the normal cliches which are of course almost impossible to ignore.

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:50 pm

Thanks for the recent visit to my updated photoblog Fabrizio. Sorry for the delay but I wanted to let you know I appreciated the visit and comment!

Daniel P. CreightonJanuary 31, 2010 - 9:48 pm

Dave- Thanks for the visit to my site recently and the comments! Sorry for the delay in the reply but did want to say thanks and I hope that you stop back.

Bob ToweryJanuary 23, 2010 - 2:06 pm

These have to be the best shots I have ever seen of DC. You are an ARTIST! I would be proud to have taken any one of these shots. Keep em coming!

Russell DevanJanuary 14, 2010 - 3:28 pm

Dan, I love your redesigned site. I like how I can scroll through all the photos by hitting the arrow key. One suggestion though is that “slideshow” function would be convenient for when you post multiple photos. I like the articles, too. Great job and worth the wait.

Anita BowerJanuary 14, 2010 - 7:46 am

Really excellent photos. You achieved your goal of a different point of view. I especially like the images of the Lincoln Memorial.

DaveJanuary 13, 2010 - 12:44 pm

Dan,

Really great stuff, I have followed your work for quite some time and I like the format change. Great job with the light on this.

MaryJanuary 13, 2010 - 8:42 am

Great images!

Carl DJanuary 12, 2010 - 8:38 pm

Hey Dan

Ridiculously great collection. This sort of thing is right up your alley .. great photography.

Cheers

Carl

fabrizioJanuary 12, 2010 - 4:22 pm

incredible play of light in this set wonderful photos

Breaking Out Of A Photographic Depression

Originally published in 2001, Copyright Daniel P. Creighton

__________________________________________

Are you in a photographic depression?

It happens to the best photographers. And the worst thing about being in a photographic depression is most don’t know why they are in the depression or at the very least make up a lot of reasons for being in the depression.  A lot of times these reasons are just excuses that feed the depression.  To truly understand how to get out of an artistic depression we must first understand what being depressed is.

To be depressed means that you are pushing down something within you.  You, as a photographer are holding down your inner voice, stifling your creativity.  In essence you are holding down and depressing ‘you’ and not letting your personality rise to the surface and grow.  Let it come out.  Exhale, and breathe again, open your eyes and see again.

Frustrated over being in a photographic slump?

Depressed about being in a photographic slump?

Many become photographically depressed because they aren’t realistic about their abilities or vision. Perhaps they are also trying to be something or somebody they aren’t.  Today the photographers that make it are highly visible and this causes a lot of photographers, especially young photographers, to want to emulate their style and photographs.  It is normal to want to be like, and create work like, those we admire.  The influence and inspiration coming from these sources can be a good thing.  But not if you are fighting yourself trying to be like everyone else.  Stop fighting it.  Be yourself and don’t be afraid to be different as it allows your inner expressions to rise up and not be depressed.  It is the photographer that tries to put another photographers vision on film, with no regard for his or her own vision, that is usually going to fall short.  And falling short is a sure way of starting down that slippery slope towards depression.  Always remember that your vision determines your work and who you are as an artist, not anybody else’s style or vision.  By emulating someone else you are lying to yourself about your creative needs and few can succeed at lying for long.  You can look at nature for inspiration and answers here.  Nature will show you how no two trees are alike, no two sunrises the same. And that is exactly what makes them so special. It is no different with your photography. Be different, be unusual, be you, step away from the crowd and soon you will be noticed and possibly admired too.  But first you must be true to your vision as that is where you will find the most satisfaction. Create photos for you first, others second.

Maybe you blame others for your depressed feelings. Maybe you received some negative comments on a photo you poured your heart and soul into.  And if the comments are just negative with no constructive advice they can hurt. But don’t let others criticism make you think you are a poor photographer or have a lack of vision.  You may need to improve, and realizing this and listening to others, and yourself, and using that analysis to fuel your fires is one sure way to not only get out of a depression, instead of using it as an excuse to stay in one, but also to grow as a photographer and expand your vision and technical ability.  You may think that others made you feel this way but the truth is only you are making you feel like this. You are depressing you, holding down your inner self.  Turn around your negative and depressing feelings and use them as fuel to light a creative fire.

Perhaps there are problems that have you down.  We all could use that new piece of equipment to take the next great picture. But by thinking like this, especially when that equipment is out of financial reach, tends to blind us to the potential that is there for great images with the equipment we already own.  There is some truth to the statement that lack of equipment can handicap a photographer.  But equally true is that with a little bit of ingenuity most photographers can overcome this handicap.  And by using creativity and desire to make the most of what you have you may find that you look at things from a fresher perspective and come up with new visions to add to your portfolio.  Change your perspective about any of the problems you face photographically and instead of dreading them, welcome them as opportunities, not as dead ends. Learn from, and grow from them.  Use it as a way to make a fresh start, a new beginning.  You very often cannot control the problems that you discover along the way, only how you react to them.

And when you do start to take chances and find that you made a mistake, or perhaps have made the same mistake several times don’t let it get you down.  If you are not making mistakes you are not going to learn and grow as a photographer.  Feeling down about your mistakes? Take a chance and address them.  You learn much more from your biggest mistakes and how you overcame them than you do from your greatest successes.  Having that understanding is what will make you strong and able to fend off another photographic depression.

You can take a step away from depression by controlling your photographic and artistic direction.  You can make a difference by being you. Your inner self directs you, not anyone else. So learn to listen to that inner self.  Slow down, enjoy your surroundings, enjoy your creativity, and then expand on it and grow with it.  In a depression it is often the things we should do that we don’t and the things we shouldn’t do that we do. Look and respond in the opposite. That is how you can turn it around.

There are few happy endings, but lots of happy beginnings.  Every time you fall down get up and start over.  Set goals, pursue them, and never be afraid to not reach your goals.  Be especially cognizant of what you learn on the way, as that is what matters most.  Goals may change and life may change.  If you have learned from your experiences then you didn’t fail.

Remember who you are and be true to your vision.

Heather DunhamFebruary 17, 2010 - 6:56 pm

You can insert any artist here. We all feel artistically bound up from time to time. Your encouragement can apply especially to writers, but applies to many beyond that. My daughter and I enjoyed your take on things. It lifted our spirits today- thanks.

Anita BowerJanuary 12, 2010 - 9:24 am

Your premise that depression occurs when one pushes down something essential within oneself is a thought I want to reflect on for a while. I especially want to think of how that applies to emotional/mental depression, which I have suffered from all my life.

Your advice to be true to one’s self, ones vision, one’s goals, one’s process can be applied to all of life, and is the goal I’ve been pursuing since childhood. It can be difficult for those of us who tend to want to please others and do things to be liked. It is a goal worth pursuing, and it get easier with age.

Thanks for your thoughtful essay.

Welcome to the updated Photogeneralist.com

Photo montage of all 926 photos posted to the old photoblog in 2009

There will be new photos, articles, and more appearing here in the days to come.  However if you want to browse the archive of photos posted on the old photoblog you can do so by clicking on the above photo or by following the link at the top of the page.