This may well be my favorite picture I've taken all year — as decidedly unremarkable as it may look. Let me explain.
I've been a freelance photojournalist for somewhere around the past four years (and a student/intern/lackey for about four years before that). And over that time, there's one thing I've understood well about my work: It improved most in the presence of critique, colleagues, and (oddly enough) stress. It isn't hard to see, poring over my archive of work, to see patches where my work just, frankly, stagnated in the absence of those three factors. While it would be grand to achieve a level of internal creative discipline to grow in isolation, I don't often see it in the wild and it certainly doesn't work for me.
That's why back in January 2015, I made a foray into the idea of a podcast. A visual storyteller's podcast, specifically. Telling more stories of the people who shape our literal world view. But during that season of my life, it just wasn't in the cards and remained an idea rattling around my head. But it never left, and it never got less intriguing to me.
When I found a physical location to ground my work (and to a lesser extent, put more "skin in the game" so to speak when it comes to making my photography a business) I leaped at it. And, you know what? That idea for creating an engaging, thought-provoking, intimate podcast began to resurface.
So, here we return to the picture in question.
If you didn't catch one of my earlier Facebook Live streams from a few weeks back (with a bit of background on the thought process of renting studio space), this is a photo from inside the studio for Photo Forward Media. What makes this photo so special to me are the possibilities I see in it.
In part, exploring the Photo Forward Podcast is selfish. I want to grow as an independent visual storyteller and photojournalist in the ways I know work — Colleagues, Critique, and Stress. (And I for one can guarantee that early interviews here in the studio will give me each of those in spades.)
Put simply, the Photo Forward Podcast isn't some idea percolating in my head anymore — it's happening. As I've mentioned in the past, a big initiative for me this year is a renewed focus on learning from the best and teaching what I know. Over the next weeks and months, I'll be sitting down (both face-to-face and over the interwebs) with scores of talented, diverse, and engaging visual storytellers. From their photographic origins, to finding work-life balance as creative professionals, to how to actually make a living as a photographer, videographer, or multimedia creator — we’re going to uncover what makes them tick and their shutters click.
If you want to get connected with the Photo Forward Podcast, or have ideas for guests I simply NEED to interview, head on over to Photo Forward Media — http://photoforward.media/podcast
The concept is THERE. The studio is READY. Now, time to get back to work on the nuts and bolts to make this idea a reality. Thank you all for the support — I can't wait to share more with you all soon.