I found out just by browsing around VCU’s Photo/Film school website that National Geographic photographer, Bill Allard was going to be speaking downtown about his work. This was an event sponsored by the ASMP (American Society for Media Photographers). I had found out about the ASMP about a year or so ago when I had first started thinking about pursuing photography more seriously. I actually had coffee with the president of our area, Chris Winton-Stahle, an advertising and editorial photographer. He helped me see the reality of what a career in photography was all about and to be honest, I was intimidated at first. I went into that meeting hoping to be able to assist a photographer and learn from them. What I didn’t expect was to hear that what I would be doing is carrying gear and learning business. Being the fresh out of college dreamer that I was (note: it hasn’t been that long but I guess you could say I’ve come into reality a lot more since then), I started to think that maybe this was not the career I really wanted because it didn’t sound quite like what I had imagined (But what ever does?) So, I started looking at different creative areas and it was by God that I was lead back to the place that I am now in photography. That is a whole other story, which I am sure I will share later, but the point being, I am fully prepared to take on all the work required to build a business in photography. It is my passion and I love it for the creativity, expression and freedom that it brings to not only me, but others. However, anything in life requires dirty work to keep it going strong. I am learning more everyday about what it takes to become successful in the business area of photography. It’s a lot of networking and promoting yourself and being in the right place at the right time. I am looking forward to learning from seasoned photographers as well. I have already learned so much!
So, back to my original purpose of writing this.. Bill Allard gave an amazing presentation tonight about how he got started in his work, where it lead him and why he shoots the subjects that he does. He added a 20 min presentation at the end which was a series of photos from a very personal project of his. He has published many books as well so he had recorded a narration of the work that he played along with it. He really captured the place and the personalities of the people there. It was so moving! He became so close to his subjects. He lived with them and really got to know them. They enjoyed having him around.
I was inspired by his work and the journey he took to reach where he is today. He is just another example of someone following their passion and being lead to the place they are supposed to be.