So, What's Your Type?

I hear this question a lot, "So, what type of photography do you do?"


I don't limit myself to one type of photography, especially now as I find my way into a career. I'm happy to take someone's portrait, but I don't naturally gravitate to shooting portraits.


Thinking back to that first SLR camera I had, I can still hear my mom's voice, "Why don't you take more pictures of people?!"


For most folks, the camera is a way of cataloguing their lives, showing where they've been and what they've done. Photos can certainly function that way for me as well, but mostly my photos are about an artistic vision. Most often I sought out landscapes and architecture of one type or another and still do. And frankly - excuse if this sounds offensive - I'd rather slit my wrist than shoot a wedding. The thought of shooting a wedding makes me break out in hives. I have no desire to deal with all that fuss. Can you imagine attending wedding after wedding all year? Oh no - that is definitely not for me.


As I find my way through this career thing, I'm trying different types of photography. I enjoy real estate shoots, because I love seeing the many and varied types of homes and styles of decor, and I find architecture interesting. I fell into the real estate gig quite by happenstance when the lovely agent, Tom - of Red Robin Group in Atlanta, who sold me my home - suggested I give it a try. I never would have given it a thought, but I've enjoyed the shoots I've done so far.

But, to the original question - "What type of photography do you do?" I'd rather answer the question, "What type of photography are you passionate about?"


To that I answer "Landscapes of every conceivable type."


There's something about urban exploration and traipsing through old abandoned places that I find exciting and rewarding. Beauty bleeds through everything, if only we let ourselves see and experience it. I love discovering the hidden beauty buried within the ordinary or even within what some might call ugly.


We live in such a superficial material culture, and we are inundated on a daily basis with images of extraordinary beauty - beautiful models, beautiful art, slick beautiful advertisements. But, there's so much beauty in the ordinary - in the flower wending its way up through a crack in the sidewalk, in the skyscraper in a cityscape, in the old abandoned farmhouse in the middle of a field.


A friend of mine recently told me that she follows my Instagram (@Susanjphotography) and loves how I take an ordinary scene that, in her words, she wouldn't notice, and capture it in such a way as to render it extraordinary. When my attention is caught enough to take a shot, it's already beautiful in some way to me. Her statement touched me, because it meant she's able to see the scene through my eyes - the way I saw the finished photo in my mind while taking it. It's so rewarding when I successfully share my vision!


When I saw the scene pictured above, it was abandoned, dilapidated, and - well yes - a complete mess, with broken windows and a caved-in ceiling and debris scattered throughout.


I saw all of that, but I saw a lot more. I saw sun streaming in through the broken windows creating a chiaroscuro light with amazing shadows spilling everywhere. I saw bright colorful pops of graffiti. I saw the earthy texture of the exposed brick.


I saw beyond the broken windows to a glorious day outside. It brings me joy to hear the shutter clicking as I shoot, adjust, shoot and adjust the settings. I spent several hours wandering around this old abandoned train yard taking pictures, though it felt like 10 minutes. I was surprised when my cell phone buzzed, warning me I had to be somewhere.


That's the best way I know to describe a passion - when you're so caught up in the love of what you're doing that you don't notice the time passing. I took several shots at varying angles, shutter speeds, and apertures. This particular shot was taken at 1/80th of a second, f14, 24 mm. I use a Nikon D610 camera. Upon editing, this was the shot that best captured my vision of the scene.


I also love to travel and shoot nature landscapes as well as cityscapes. I love taking pictures of the beach/coast when I'm out in California, where I was born and raised. I have a shot I especially love because I had to get uncomfortably close to a large seal to capture it; but, I got it.

Seal at La Jolla Cove, San Diego

Seal at La Jolla Cove, San Diego

I know we humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize, but I couldn't help feeling like that seal was proudly posing! I find it hard to categorize my style of photography because I enjoy taking photos of so many different types of subjects, many of which I'll show you here on my blog.


If you haven't read my "Susan J" page, please hop on over and check it out so you have a better idea of who I am.