I fell in love with photography when I was in the 8th Grade. My best friend, Betsy, received a 35 mm camera the same Christmas I received my first camera, a Polaroid. My Polaroid was fun, but her camera created ART. Nine months later, for my birthday, my parents gave into my constant whine for the best camera out in the market at the time. I have been taking pictures ever since. I took pictures for yearbook in high school, at church functions and camps, family gatherings and then in college. As a mother I have constantly taken photos of my children and more recently I have begun to take photos for my husband and his musical functions.
Painting them always seemed easier than capturing one on camera. I think it is that interest factor that the human element often jumps in to cover. How easy is it to find a truly intriguing landscape, with a really interesting frame? I first started in Yosemite, CA to begin the learning process under the influence of Ansel Adams, of course.
Taken in 1986 in Yosemite, CA while hiking about. As I passed this tree the sun caught my eye and I was struck by its crookedness among the other straight trees. I snapped one photo quickly not realizing this would become one of my most cherished photos. I recently pulled it out of my portfolio to use on Jim's TWL website.
I picture needs a human element according to my husband. So on every trip, in every shot, someone has to jump into the frame in order to make the candid more interesting. Maybe, maybe not. Still, I have found personally that plain portraiture to be my favorite form of photography. At Cal-State, Northridge, one of my first photography class projects was a series of portraits.
They are everywhere. But complete strangers have never tempted me. I want my photos of people that have more than good looks, they have to have a personal connection. My first model was my brother naturally. He was so fun to shoot because of his interests... music!
Jim E. Parris (left)
Obviously taken in the early eighties (because of the hair), my brother was always willing to pose for me. I had him literally jump throw hoops once. He was a handsome model and usually available.
The Hoot 'n Annie (above)
My very first concert shoot,
taken in 1986. Jim E. looked
and sounded very much like
Robert Smith of The Cure.
Jim E. with guitar (left)
Taken in 1986 on the back balcony of my parent's home in California. I love the hairline. So typically Jim E.
The Bus Ride
Every Spring break we would go to Yosemite. I only went once with my brother and it was the most productive trip I had there artistically. I think just his presence can be encouraging for me.
Once Erika was born my interest in photography changed from a fun hobby to a great mission. I had to get photos of her in every mood, at every age and on every good hair day. Jessika and Monika continued my mission but I must admit I took less pictures as the years rolled. Every time I take them to have "professional" photos done I am left feeling like I could have done better, so occasionally I give it try. Three children at one time is a challenge for anyone... the trick is to make them want it as much as you do.
Taken in 1999 in California while on vacation. I have learned never to wait until all three girls are smiling. If they are all looking at me, I am doing great.
My fascination with drummers started in 7th grade when I moved in next door to a 7th grade boy who played drums. For years the sound of thumping from a garage was very normal everyday after school and on Saturday afternoons. My brother's band experiences started my interest of photographing musicians that has grown as Jim began playing with Hundredfold and now in Tree Without Leaves.
Taken in 1987 in my brother's room. The window is open and the natural light helps to highlight his face. I starting taking photos of Jim playing while we were dating and have continued to this day.I have found that one the most striking features on Jim's face are his eyes. That steal grey tone in them can be piercing.
The family portrait is as fundamental to photography as the camera. No picture is more valuable in time than the picture of those you love most...
3 Girls and a Guy
The problem with being the photographer in the family is always being left of the picture! This one was taken on Easter Sunday 1999 on the way to the Mall of America. I can't help but love every expression in the photo... so much personality.
My mom with her mom during a trip to California Erika and I took back in 1991. Both my mom and grandmother love vegetation and flora. They both look so poised here.
Friends, like family offer the connection I need as a photographer to make a picture more interesting. The photo is more than just a picture. It can capture the essence of a personality. It is difficult to capture if you don't know it.
My most recent photo shoot of a dear friend of ours and very talented vocalist, was done right behind our apartments here in Wisconsin at the peak of Autumn, 1999. The timing of the photos was perfect, late afternoon and the weather was wonderful. I must admit that Matthew did all the work in posing and lending the perfect expressions for the portraits. The shoot was done specifically for the TWL website and for possible use on future solo ventures Matthew plans to do.
Another photo shoot specifically done for the TWL website was taken at the State Historical Society. At the time, Jeff, who is an incredibly talented artist and gifted cartologist happened to be working there.
Self Portraiture has always been a sort of specialty of mine and I didn't let the fact that I was the photographer stop me from making myself the subject of my own pictures. My Canon has a nice a timer that allows me to create any frame to pop into with in 30 seconds.
This is my very first attempt at self portraiture with a camera. I love the 3/4 view and wanted a sense of looking back. Is it reflective?
Canon AE-1, my first and most beloved camera. I recently took it out of storage and began to use it and found it wonderful to have the control I gave up long ago in exchange for speed.
Chinon Genesis, my first mother's day gift from Jim. With auto flash, auto focus and a zoom macro lens I was ready to capture every smile Erika could give at a moments notice.
Kodak Advantix (3600ix), my first pocket sized camera. Kept in my purse for convenience, I find the pictures from this camera usually lacking (although the panoramic size shots are fun).
Nikon N70, the newest camera at my disposal. I am still learning how to use all the features on this fully programmable piece of equipment. I am amazed by all the features this one has.
Yashica Electro 35, a garage sale find. I have yet to experiment with this old relic but I would like to start collecting old 35 mm camera for my students to learn real photography from.