The Photographer Project: Anne Rhett

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate?  September 21, 1987.

When did you first pick up a camera?  Tell me about that.  When did you know you had a talent for photography?  Natural talent or learned process?

I took my first darkroom class in high school here in Charleston. I had a wonderful teacher, the late JD Cummings, and the classroom was on the top floor of a building once owned by the Gibbes Museum. That building is now Husk Restaurant, and I’m pretty sure what was the darkroom is now the toilets, but it will always be sacred ground to me. In college, I became involved with the Documentary Studies program and lugged my mom’s Canon from the 1970s around campus. I have been a shutterbug pretty much ever since. My initial attraction to the practice of photography felt very natural, but I would say the work that followed was the fruit of labor, love, trial, and error rather than any natural talent. I think anyone with self-discipline and the right temperament–a willingness to look for beauty everywhere you go plus the optimism to assume you will find it–can be a great photographer! I’m still striving myself.

What do you love to photograph?

I’ll admit that in much of my commercial and wedding work, I find myself, as Slim Aarons put it, photographing “attractive people in attractive places doing attractive things,” but  I also think that some of my better images emerge from humbler origins–earnest or ailing people people doing hard work and living real lives in places of character or nostalgic value. I value them equally as subjects.

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors?

This is going to take a while…we all stand on the shoulders of giants, after all.

Aesthetically speaking, I have great respect for all the film-shooting gangsters out there like Jonathan Canlas, Jose Villa, and Erich McVey, the “film is not dead” folks reviving or rather sustaining the art of film (as opposed to digital) photography. Their work is exquisite and transformed my practice.

Another analog photographer, Sally Mann, hooked me on photography from an early age with her haunting, moody, evocative large-format photographs of her family at their farm on Virginia. Reading her memoir Hold Still added a whole new dimension to her work for me. She seems to be a poet on many levels.

I also love camera-wielding crusaders, like the documentarian Dorothea Lange and my former teacher Wendy Ewald, two women who use photography to instigate change. Discovering their work changed my idea of what types of jobs could prove meaningful to society and to the universe.

And then there is Vivian Maier, the anomaly. She was a nanny by occupation, but by passion she was an insanely observant street photographer in Chicago. She never showed her work to anyone while she was alive. The world only knows her name because someone at an auction discovered a discarded box that held thousands of her negatives. Many rolls of her film had never even been developed. She is just as good as the famous street photographers like Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson, but she never had any recognition in her lifetime. In the era of social media when everyone (myself included) goes posting for likes, this is mind-boggling. While she was producing her work, no one ever liked it, not in reality, and definitely not on Instagram. For pity’s sake, she didn’t even know if she liked some of her work–she hadn’t seen most of it developed! Her story serves as a constant reminder to me that the making of images can be a reward in itself.

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them?

Ryan Gosling and no one else is invited. Sorry.

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?

I frequently have to suppress that little voice of hubris that whispers ‘NAILED IT!” as I release the shutter. You never know until you see the image in full.

What makes you feel connected to your subject?

Seeing them experience joy in front of the camera!

What are your thoughts on editing?  

My photography teacher and friend Matthew Ree told me recently that “Making the photo is like composing the music. Editing is like playing it.” It may take forever and a day, but it breathes life into the images.

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further?

Photojournalism for news outlets.

What’s on your photographic bucket list?

Before today I would have said CUBA, but I’m in the airport now about to board for Havana, so I think now I can go ahead and kick the bucket! If I ever come back, I’d like to do a kitschy shoot at a laundromat.

What inspires you?

Marsh views in the Lowcountry on any given day.

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client? These days, I hope I would approach the disagreement with a smile and a very calm demeanor. When I first started out as a paid photographer, I was easily flustered and considered any criticism of my work to be an indication of utter failure. Now I understand that my clients are equal partners in my quest to create a beautiful, flattering final product.

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?

Make oodles of friends, take nano-oodles of photos, and shoot things for free or trade if you want to, but not because you feel like you have to.

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?

Not yet!

What makes you feel loved?

Getting snail mail from loved ones. Or from anyone really. Maybe I need a pen pal?

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?

Pretty, soft light right before sunset is always a blessing. New locations also always rev my creative engines.

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: annerhettphotography

FB: https://www.facebook.com/annerhettphotography/

Website: www.annerhettphotography.com

What makes you feel pretty?

Red lipstick, regular trips to Charleston Power Yoga, eyeliner on the top lid, haircuts from my man Ralph at Urban Nirvana, and when people tell me I am “starting to look just like my mom.” She’s the prettiest!

Do you have any other thoughts or things to say about profession?

I feel incredibly lucky that I am able to do something that I love. The world will have to pry my camera from my cold, dead hands.

Candids by Jen Montgomery Photography in Joshua Tree National Park

The Photographer Project: Amelia Phillips Hale

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate?

June 2, 1980

When did you first pick up a camera?   Tell me about that.  When did you know you had a talent for photography?  Natural talent or learned process?

The first time I remember picking up a camera and taking note was when I was in college and a dear friend had a polaroid camera.  It was so fun to capture moments instantly, and then be able to write a little something at the bottom.  When we went to study abroad for a semester my friends gave me a polaroid camera as a gift to take with me.  I used it throughout my travels.  Upon returning to school in the states I acquired a film camera, and when I traveled abroad again, I took it with me.  After graduating, I mentioned to my mom that I really enjoyed taking photographs and she found a wonderful community college with a two-year program just up the road from where I lived.  I enrolled that fall, and began to really learn the art and practice of photography. 

What do you love to photograph? 

People experiencing life.  Spontaneity.

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors?

Melissa Lyttle, Lisa Krantz, Preston Gannaway, Susan Meiselas, Barbara Davidson, Nick Oza, Eugene Richards, Jerry Uelsmann, Sam Abell, William Albert Allard, Jill Freeman, Cary Hertz, Yousef Karsh, Ross Taylor, Kitty and Craig Fritz…the list could go on and on.

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them?

Dan Hale [my husband], Corinne Hale [our 4 year old daughter] and my Grandad [who is deceased].  Do you believe in a God[s]/Goddesses and/or other life in the universe?  This usually leads to many more interesting questions. 🙂

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?

When the moment, light and composition line up perfectly, yes!

What makes you feel connected to your subject?

When they feel comfortable enough to ignore me, and welcome me in to their life as one of their own.

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself? 

I am not a fan of spending a lot of time in front of the computer.  I shoot in camera with only minor tweaks in the editing post production portion [which still takes longer that I would like with weddings since there are so many images].  I always cull my own images, and usually Dan [my husband, best friend, + co-worker] will take care of the editing. 

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further?

I have explored many genres and cameras throughout my career.  I always loved long-term documentary projects and would love to work more on those again; macro photography and I love my Holga (camera).

What’s on your photographic bucket list?

The next adventure, and the people I meet along the way.

What inspires you?

My daughter, my husband, traveling and new places, reading, art [looking at and creating].

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client?

We do our best to communicate clearly and effectively, but in the event of a misunderstanding it is always our goal to resolve the issue as effectively as possible.

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?

Look at lots of art.

Learn business.

Take photographs every day.

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?

I am currently not involved in any continuing education, but I am a member of Professional Photographers of America and a couple local photography groups.

What makes you feel loved?

Hugs and laughter.

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?

When I am forced to work within a challenging situation and have time to figure out how to make an interesting and unique image.

What are your social media handles?

    Instagram: @ameliaanddan

    FB: Amelia + Dan Photography

    Website: http://ameliaanddan.com

What makes you feel pretty?

Smiles and laughter.

Hunter McRae Photography
amelia + dan photography, dreamland images inc., Charleston SC

The Photographer Project: Sally Watts

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate?    September 24, 1971

When did you first pick up a camera?  Tell me about that.  When did you know you had a talent for photography?  Natural talent or learned process?

I first picked up a camera in 5th grade, when we made pinhole cameras in Gifted. (Such an obnoxious name for the accelerated school program! Nevertheless, a good fit for a high IQ/ low common sense creative child like me.) We developed our film, and I fell in love with the process. I can still remember smelling the chemicals for the first time. Intoxicating.

What do you love to photograph?

Seemingly insignificant moments. I find beauty or poignancy in everything. Sometimes it’s hard to turn off the compulsion to snap everything I see people do- even strangers. Especially strangers!

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors? 

I’ve learned so much about business, technical aspects of shooting, and human nature and psychology from Leigh Webber. She is a constant source of inspiration, insight and friendship.

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them? 

I thought this question would be so tough, but they came right to me! David Foster Wallace, Steve Martin, and Sally Mann. All three are/were brilliant, amazing, thoughtful, true to self trailblazers in their own way. And each speaks to aspects of my personality; the writer/philosopher, the romantic image maker, and most of all, the quirky, silly dork.

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?

You know. Sometimes an image pleasantly surprises you when you’re looking back through, but typically you’ve been stalking that great candid moment, or you created a posed or candid portrait with the lighting, so you know. 

What makes you feel connected to your subject? 

Gosh. What doesn’t? I’m endlessly fascinated with people, but I try to act nonchalant and low key, like I’m not scrutinizing their every feature. Because I’m not! I feel happiest when clients leave a shoot saying, “that was fun!” That’s the best compliment I can get.

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself?  

I do it myself. I like to play around with different looks occasionally, but more often than not I edit everything the same way, so the gallery looks cohesive. It takes amazing skill and taste level to “branch out” in post processing and have your work look really cool, vs. really cheesy. I typically don’t chance it. 🙂

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further?

Street photography! It’s my passion.

What’s on your photographic bucket list?

I want to do more portraits of men. I’ve noticed that no matter how comfortable a man is around me; how long he’s known me, there’s a tendency to get stiff or Austin Powers-ish silly in front of my camera. It’s actually much easier to get great, natural shots of men I hardly know! I’d like to work through dissecting breaking down that awkward barrier.

What inspires you?

People in concentration, unaware of their surroundings. Split second moments of expression, gait, movement, laughter, uncertainty, etc., that are heartbreakingly poignant to me. Sunsets. Sunrises. My children. Nature. Music. Everything inspires me! I’m easy. 

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client? 

This has so rarely happened to me. I tend to attract the perfect clients, for which I’m grateful, if a bit baffled at how I manage to get that right every time. But if there is a concern, the client is always right, or I’ll work to really listen and empathize, and make the best of the situation. I have zero professional ego about feedback, apologizing, correcting, etc. I’d much rather know what people are really thinking. 

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?

You’ll know you’re getting better at your craft when you feel like you completely suck. At the beginning, listen to industry naysayers more than non industry praise showering.

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?

I’m a PPA member, and I plan to attend more workshops this year. In the past I haven’t participated in enough continuing education and networking, and since workshops, conferences and travel are good for business and a write off, why not?

What makes you feel loved?

Oh boy….Turns out I’m much better at discussing what I love! 🙂 My children’s hands in mine. That always does the trick. And laughing with a family member or friend. I’m talking doubled over, tears, breathless laughing. I don’t think we, in our culture, do that nearly enough. 

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?

I’m happiest when I’m shooting as a fly on the wall in a dimly but atmospherically lit place. 

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: sallycwatts

FB: https://www.facebook.com/sallywattsphoto/

Website: www.sallywattsphoto.com

What makes you feel pretty?

Perfume. I’m always searching for that unicorn scent. Painted toenails. They’ve been red or pink, occasionally purple or silver, etc., since I was 14. Being happy makes me feel pretty too, as does being true to my own style and personality. Really, though, as every woman over 40 knows, or should know, feeling pretty is about comfort in your own skin. Not being afraid to sing along in the grocery store, let your laughter ring out, hug someone, close your eyes and feel the moment, or twirl, run, or lay in the grass if the moment is there.

Do you have any other thoughts or things to say about your profession?

These days I’m quite interested in mixing still images with video, which I learned to do when photographing births. A great example is the 60 Second Photograph tag on Instagram. So cool!

Candids courtesy of Sally Credle Watts

The Photographer Project: Marni Rothschild Durlach

Portrait by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate?   August 2nd (you don’t need the year, right??? Ha!)

When did you first pick up a camera?  Tell me about that.  When did you know you had a talent for photography?  Natural talent or learned process?

I was drawn to photography in elementary school. After playing with a polaroid and convincing my parents I really wanted to stick with it, I got an SLR in 6th grade and spent the next summer in my basement setting up backdrops and still lives. I studied art and art history in college at James Madison and got an MFA in Photography at VCU. I knew I would go down this path from a really young age…Photography is my only skill!  I thought briefly about being a vet because I love animals so much but blood makes me dizzy. 

What do you love to photograph?  Light and love. Things you can’t fake. 

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors?    Arnold Newman for his ability to compress an entire personality into one frame.  Irving Penn for the way he conveyed exquisite beauty in the ordinary and extraordinary.  Annie Leibowitz for everything, but especially her early, gritty work with Rolling Stone and her amazing compilation “Women.” Rodney Smith for his balance of whimsy and sophistication. Aaron Siskind for his striking studies of texture and negative space. 

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them?    Arnold Newman, Sally Mann and John Dolan. I want the dirt on the craziest things they’ve seen and heard during their long and celebrated careers in the business. 

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?  I know it when I click the shutter. I suppose the process is more emotional than technical for me. 

What makes you feel connected to your subject?   We talk! The whole time I shoot I ask questions and listen to them talk about their background, their families, travels, anything that we might have in common. When I shoot film I have to reload the camera and there’s definitely some down time when I do that. I love the moments in between rolls when the subject can relax with no camera focused on them, you can literally see their shoulders relax and it makes a big difference in the outcome. Or that might be from the champagne I bring. 

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself?   Definitely abhor it. That’s one of the reasons I shoot film, so I don’t have to sit in front of my computer tweaking skin tones. I have a local editor for my digital wedding pictures but I edit my smaller portrait sessions if I have time. 

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further?   I’d like to do a series on wooden boats and classic yachts. Any excuse to be closer to the water.  

What’s on your photographic bucket list?   I’m going to Cumberland Island for spring break and I’ve always wanted to shoot the wild horses there. I’d really love to shoot the America’s Cup one day, too. 

What inspires you?   Beauty in the everyday and anything genuine. 

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client?   Fortunately, in 16 years of shooting weddings I’ve had fewer than I can count on one hand. But first I would diplomatically encourage them to consider another perspective. If that’s not effective I would find a solution that makes everybody feel satisfied. 

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?   Always take time to make art for yourself. 

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?   I attend the Engage! conferences every few years and I take workshops when I need to recharge. I’ve taken some in Maine and I’ve done one through Musea called “the Gathering” that was so inspiring in New York two years ago. And though it’s not a formal group, locally there are a few photographers that I get together with regularly and we always bounce ideas around and vent! I’m also a member of NPS and PPA. 

What makes you feel loved?   When my husband cooks me a meal after a shoot.

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?   Anywhere in Charleston, especially at high tide. The light coming off the water is always so beautiful. 

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: @marnipictures

FB: @marnipictures

Website: marnipictures.com

What makes you feel pretty?  A good lip. And lots of photoshopping. I kid. Kind of. Not kidding at all. 

Do you have any other thoughts or things to say about your profession?   Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Even when I’m achingly sore from a long wedding or laying out albums until the wee hours it’s so satisfying to know that I’m creating and preserving moments that people will remember for the rest of their lives. 

Photo by Alice Keeney

Candid courtesy of Marni Rothschild Durlach

The Photographer Project: Cana Dunlap McDonald

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate? 10/30/1989

When did you first pick up a camera?  Tell me about that.  When did you know you had a talent for photography?  Natural talent or learned process?

As long as I can remember I have been the one in my family that liked to document all of our life events. Whether it was a birthday party, a road trip or a day at the beach. I loved taking photos throughout the day that told a story. I never imagined that photography would be something I would or could do as a career. In college I jumped form major to major, just feeling like I wanted to do so many things, but didn’t really feel like I had a passion for any particular one. After 3 years in college I got very discouraged by this and ended up dropping out and taking a year off to get my cosmetology license. I worked in a salon for a few years and had a client that was in the wedding industry. The conversation that I had with her inspired me to go out, that very day, and buy a professional camera. I snagged up my nieces and nephews, brought them to the park and had my first photography session. That day everything just clicked for me. I knew that this was my calling. I knew that the Lord was going to open so many doors and create so many relationships through this business.  After that first session I never looked back and I’ve never had any doubts that this is what I am meant to do. I think it is a natural talent for me. Other than researching camera features and editing techniques online, everything I’ve learned has been on the job, and trial and error. I have invested a lot of time and worked very hard to establish myself in the photography industry, but at the same time, I feel like it’s come very naturally and organically for me. It feels like its something I’ve always done and I know I will do forever. 

What do you love to photograph? People! I have a huge heart for people, and connections are so important and valuable to me. Weddings is where my heart is though, for sure. I love getting a chance to capture something that becomes an heirloom and heritage for families. How special is that?! It’s so important to me that I capture my couples as authentically and organically as possible. It’s knowing when to guide and pose them and when to just hush, step back and capture the moments as they unfold. I love capturing those moments throughout the day that no one knows or even expects are going to happen. It just feels like a little piece of magic! 

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors?  I’ve tried to be really intentional early on in my career; not to follow or look too much at other photographers’ work for two reasons. The first one was I obviously was new and I was trying to find my “style”. And I really wanted to have a style that was authentically me and not me trying to emulate someone else’s work that I really admired. I think in doing so it really helped me find a style that is unique to me. Number 2 is that I have found the saying that “comparison is the thief of joy” is all too true with me. I have a tendency in life, not just photography, to compare myself to others. By not following other photographers’ work too closely, it kept me from comparing myself to them. Which gave me more joy in the work I did. I knew in my heart where I wanted to be aesthetically and professionally, and I knew it was going to take time. And in that time, I needed to find joy in the season of learning that I was in. 

Not to say I don’t have photographers that inspire me, because I definitely do! One of my favorites right now is India Earl. She has such a knack for capturing her clients in such a warm and joyful way! Literally everything she posts makes me swoon. If I do find myself falling into a creative rut, I go hangout on her website and I just soak up all that beautiful creativity and always leave a little more inspired!

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them? 

1 // June Carter Cash – When my mom was a child she toured with Johnny Cash for a few years. She told me that June Carter was the first person in her life to ever teach her about The Lord. So I think I would like to talk with her about her boldness. I’d ask about her faith and how and if she spoke to others she met along her journey and career as an artist. 

2 // Mindy Kaling – Mostly because I think she is hilarious and I think we would be best friends. 

3 // Rosa Parks – I think about that day she was on the bus and the events that followed after. She was an incredibly brave woman and I always wonder what it was that made her finally so “no, I am not moving,” to the point where she was arrested for it. I would ask her all about that day! 

What makes you feel connected to your subject? Nothing makes me feel more connected during a shoot than when my clients says “we totally trust you.” That really empowers me to lead my clients to be themselves and be even more creative. If I don’t feel like they trust me or my vision, it makes me feel self conscious, which might make me hold back a little bit from trying to lead them into bringing out their natural connection and emotion in front of my camera. I am a people person so I love getting to know my clients’ stories. I love connecting with my clients though their story and especially when they share if they have had hardships through it, but have conquered though it and have come out the other side even stronger and more in love. It’s the transparency that I love so much, when my clients feel like they can trust me and in return it breaks down walls and really shows through in their photos! 

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself?  I love it! I do it all myself. I am very detail oriented and I absolutely touch every single image. Its just as exciting and creative for me as shooting is. Like I said earlier, for me, it’s what brings the images to life!

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further? Fashion/Editorial photography really intrigues me! I definitely can see myself exploring that side of photography more, in the near future. 

What’s on your photographic bucket list? Shooting a wedding in Ireland is at the very top of my list! 

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client?  My clients are like friends to me. If they are concerned about something, it concerns me just as much. If it’s in regards to their wedding day, their opinion obviously always comes first. If it effects the images quality in a negative way, I would give my professional opinion and try to make sure that they have the absolute best experience, lighting and photos. It just depends on the situation. But ultimately they come first and their opinion and happiness is my top priority! 

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?     I think what worked the best for me was not comparing myself to others. There will always be photographers out there that you will look up to and admire, but if you can’t be content with the season you are in, you will robbed of so much joy. Photography is a constant, ever-evolving journey. My biggest thing is you shouldn’t ever wake up and say “Ok, I have arrived. I found my style, I take nice photos, I’m comfortable here.”  My goal is to always strive to grow, learn and push myself. There is always more to learn! And the more you learn, the better you can serve your clients. 

Bonus – Also find your niche and completely devote yourself to learning everything you can about that area of photography. You can’t be the best in every field of photography. Choose the one that you’re most passionate about and pursue that.  

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups? I am a part of a few online groups. My goal this year is to get more involved with our local community of photographers in Charleston. My favorite is “The Rising Tide” community. It promotes community over competition, which I am a huge advocate of!

What makes you feel loved? My love language is Words of Affirmation. When I get emails or call from my clients, telling me how much they love and appreciate the gallery I sent them, it fills my heart! Also, chocolate and coffee. When those are given to me, especially together, I feel like I must have done something right! 

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?  Out in the middle of no where at sunset, with a little wind. SWOON.

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: canadunlapmcdonald

FB: https://www.facebook.com/canadunlap/

Website: canadunlap.com

What makes you feel pretty? clean hair, messy curls and a lot of mascara! 

Candids provided by Cana Dunlap McDonald

The Photographer Project: Reese Moore

Portraits by Diana Deaver

Birthdate: May 19, 1986

When did you first pick up a camera? When did you know you had a talent for photography?  I had played around with cameras as a child – almost all of my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side are artists, as well as my mother, so we were constantly exposed if not immersed in the arts – but it didn’t really connect until college. I always loved creating things (even now I have about 6 artsy projects in various states of remission all over my house). But, it didn’t really click until one of my professors pulled me aside and very assertively told me I needed to pursue photography! It was a huge compliment and humbling moment that she was so invested.

What do you love to photograph? ALL THE THINGS!! Food, people, their relationships, that moment when someone bursts out laughing, travel, puppies, families, concerts, all of it. I’m blessed that by profession I get to record and showcase and make art out of all the things that, to me, make life worth living.  Virtually everything I photograph now is a celebration in one way or another. 

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors? I still have a strong love for Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, and Sally Mann. 

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them? Honestly, my grandmother would be the first one. I know that won’t be the boldest answer you get, but she was a wildly artistic woman who lived so boldly for the times. She really wasn’t afraid to do her own thing and blaze her own trail. I would ask her what it was REALLY like during that time, and what the push-back was, socially. I’d also want to have dinner with Oscar Wilde out of curiosity, but I’m not sure I’d like him in real life!! And Emily Bronte still is fascinating to me. I’d want to know about their artistic struggles.

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process? I know in the moment, you can just feel it sometimes!

What makes you feel connected to your subject? Being human! I think that’s really what it’s all about, you’re empathizing and relating and tapping into someone else’s experience to present to the world.

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself?  I do it myself, and I have a love-hate with it. There’s a window. The minute I’m done shooting something, I’m excited to edit it and get in there! But honestly I have trouble sitting still, so I have to put something awful on TV to keep my butt in the chair and actually FINISH editing.

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further? Travel, obviously!!! 

What’s on your photographic bucket list? I don’t know that having a bucket list is the way I’d describe the way I think about my career? I think of it more as an awesome set of experiences that have come my way, and I’m always excited about whatever’s next. And not knowing what’s next is half the fun!

What inspires you? So many things! The wind through the trees, street art, random conversations with strangers, people who ask questions or aren’t afraid to share, when you have a museum all to yourself, trying new foods, being present, life! 

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client? Respectfully, but it depends on the nature of the difference of opinion.

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer? Make work to get work! 

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups? I’m currently working in photography for the Marketing Department of the College of Charleston, which has been a really nurturing professional experience. 

What makes you feel loved? When someone else folds and puts away my laundry. But on a more serious note, I think the concept of “holding space” for someone is an essential part of loving and feeling loved. 

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot? Hazy golden hour or clean diffused natural light! 

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: ReeseMooreWeddings www.instagram.com/reesemooreweddings

FB: Reese Moore Weddings  www.facebook.com/reesemooreweddings

Website: www.reesemooreweddings.com 

What makes you feel pretty? Taking care of myself! Which I never thought I would say in my 20s. My 20s were all about the clothes and makeup and treating myself for feeling pretty. But now that I’ve settled into my own skin more, I definitely have to say feeling healthy and treating myself to a long hike makes me feel my most pretty! 

Do you have any other thoughts or things to say about your profession? I fall in love with photography over and over again, and I hope that never changes. Recording someone’s life and memories through your own eyes is a privilege, a responsibility, and a gift!

Candids courtesy of Reese Moore

The Photographer Project: Leigh Webber

Portraits by Diana Deaver

Such a true Leigh-capture: natural, easy, big smile.

What’s your birthdate?

August 13, 1975

When did you first pick up a camera?  Tell me about that.  When did you know you had a talent for photography?  Natural talent or learned process?

My mom was really good about making photo albums, and I remember from a young age wondering whether I actually remembered an experience or if it was because I’d seen photos of it so often. That was the beginning of my fascination with the ability of a photo to jog memories. 

The first photography class I took was in high school, and I loved how I could use it as a form of expression. I’d always been labeled “the artistic one” in the family, but i think that’s because I didn’t always follow the status quo.  It wasn’t until the summer before I started college at UNC that I realized there were all of these wonderful art schools out there that I should have applied to instead. My parents insisted that I at least try Carolina. I lasted 1 semester before I transferred to SCAD. 

What do you love to photograph?

I really love photographing kids and dogs. It sounds cliche, but they are the creatures most true to themselves. i.e., they don’t put on airs. The challenge I love is to capture the right moment that epitomizes their authenticity. 

I also love to photograph underwater. Light travels differently through water and you see things in a whole new light, literally and figuratively. Also, there’s a lack control that I have in the water. It’s impossible to stay still and it’s not always easy to communicate with my subject. And though I can see the last image I took on my camera, I can’t scroll back through them all with my underwater housing. That forces me to take more risks and to trust my intuition more. 

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors?

I have so many! I am drawn to bold, graphic images with a subtle twist – like something funny or an innuendo or double entendre. One of my favorite magazine is COLORS. (http://www.colorsmagazine.com) Each issue has a different theme and the articles include stories and photos form around the world. I also love the graphic design of the magazine. 

Other photographers whose work I love: 

The Voorhees

http://www.voorhes.com

Holly Andres

http://www.hollyandres.com/y4phk89czszb3a2hf2ld05rm1qrlmf

Maurizio Cattelan

https://www.artandcommerce.com/artists/photographers/Maurizio-Cattelan—Pierpaolo-Ferrari/Publications/Covers

After I graduated from SCAD, I moved to San Francisco and worked for various photographers, and two of them became mentors. It was a symbiotic relationship of sorts–they were both veterans of the photography world and I was a recent graduate with a digital background. I taught them Photoshop and they taught me about studio photography and running a business. I really miss having a mentor like that now. 

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them? 

Aziz Ansari – More than anything, I love comic relief. I’m pretty wound up underneath a laid back facade, and I need someone around who can provide the levity and turn any situation into something to laugh about. As for our conversation… I wouldn’t need to ask him anything, I’d be happy for him to talk about anything and make me laugh. 

Paul Klee – I secretly want to be a painter and I love Klee’s work. His work was a big influence on me when I was studying art. I’d love to take art lessons from him and talk about color theory.

Seth Godin – Seth Godin is the ultimate marketer and entrepreneur. I love the psychology behind marketing and PR. I’d ask him about how he sees the future and then hand the reins over to him! 

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?

Yes, sometimes! There are definitely moments when I am photographing that I know the conditions are perfect and the light is amazing and I have this sort of Zen-like floating-on-a-cloud moment. 

Then, there are other shoots where I’m nervous to look at the images. I let fear get in the way. But once I sit down and start to loose myself in the editing, I start to discover the gems.

What makes you feel connected to your subject?

I love it when people have the confidence to be themselves. It’s contagious and a win-win as we both get to maximize or photo session. 

I also love what happens when I am able to pull children out of their shells to the point that they are asking me to take their photo instead of the other way around! 

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself?  

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with editing! Up until last year, I edited everything myself. I think there’s a lot of value in editing your own work as you get to reassess every shot you took and you learn what works and what doesn’t. That said, it’s also a major relief to outsource editing on occasion. 

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further?

I’d love to have a lighting guru on hand to teach me more sophisticated studio lighting techniques. I’d love to learn more about video. I’d love to photograph in pools at night using special light sources, that are in the water and out. 

What’s on your photographic bucket list?

I have a running list of places where I’d like to travel and there are various series that I’d like to photograph along the way. I’d love to do a book on “Kids Around the World,” “Dogs Around the World,” “Kitchens Around the World,” “Pools Around the World”… I think you see a pattern here. 🙂 

What inspires you?

Travel is my biggest source of inspiration. I would move to SE Asia in a heartbeat. I’m also inspired by strong women, artists and original thinkers. 

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client? 

I never want a client to be disappointed or less than thrilled with their photos but the truth is that that sometimes happens. First and foremost, I want them to know how sorry I am that they are unhappy. The next step is to figure out how we can resolve that, whether it’s a reshoot or a refund. 

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?

Shoo,t shoot, shoot! Do a 365-day project. Try photographing in all sorts of different lighting conditions. Take your camera everywhere. Learn. And then, most importantly and once you have the basic skills down, develop your own personal vision. 

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?

Yes! My bookkeeper jokes that I am the most educated photographer she knows. Every year, I travel somewhere to take a workshop and be around other photographers and creatives. If money were no issue, I’d constantly be traveling and attending workshops around the world. 

What makes you feel loved?

I feel loved when I am around people who know me well enough to give me space to let me do my thing, but also know when to butt in and make me join the party. 

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?

Give me a warm sunny day with bright light and clear blue water and I am set. 

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: @leighwebber

FB: @leighwebberphotography

Website: leighwebber.com

What makes you feel pretty?

I feel prettiest when I am myself, when I’m wearing clothes that are “me” (probably something black that fits well) and I’ve just had a haircut, a pedicure and a workout! 

Do you have any other thoughts or things to say about your profession?

The profession of photography is evolving. I think the most important thing is to find your niche, something that feels true and authentic to you within the field of photography,  and to run with it. 

Candids courtesy of Leigh Webber.

Leigh, I could stare at this photo all day long. I feel your complete wind-blown happiness in this moment, traveling in Cuba.

The Photographer Project: Jennings King

Portraits by Diana Deaver.  Get the look: LimeLight products exclusively. Botanical Foundation in Gena Beige + Must Dew Calming Face Oil; E/S Peachy Gleam; Perfect Eyeliner Pen; Perfect Mascara; Perfect Blush in Possible #3; Enduring Lip Color in Ash; Jeweled Lip Gloss in Hope.

What’s your birthdate?

November 24, 1977.  I was born on Thanksgiving.

When did you first pick up a camera?  Tell me about that.  

I was 8 years old, and I received a Fisher Price camera for my birthday from my parents.  It was the film camera, blue plastic with sturdy rubber grips on the side, and a flash cartridge you had to buy to pop in the top.

Natural talent or learned process?  A little bit of both.  I loved the arts, art was my favorite subject and I excelled at it since I can remember (3rd grade & on).  I never disliked art class.  As I got older, 6-7th grade, I went to the UNCG All Arts & Science camp in the summer.  That is where I took my first photography class.  I will never forget what the dark room smelled like for the first time.  It was a new experience.  It was fun being around other creatives at such a young age, during the summer and meeting new people from all different places.  It’s also where I met one of my first real boyfriends; gosh he was so cute!

From then on I loved taking pictures wherever I went.  I was known to be the one at the function with my camera.  People would say, “Oh, Jennings will be there so I don’t need to bring my camera!”  

In college I didn’t major in it – I majored in Graphic Communications at Clemson which is basically learning the commercial printing process from start to finish.  We were required to take two photography classes.  I did and loved it – it was still film back then so we worked in the dark room again, learning how to master developing your pictures with the enlarger and burning & dodging.  Taking pictures of each other and classmates wandering around the Clemson campus finding new things to take pictures of.  After I graduated in 2000 – that was when digital came out – but it just wasn’t there for me.  I literally didn’t pick up a camera until 5 years later, when I bought my first digital camera, a Nikon D60.  From then on, I started taking pictures of families in Raleigh, NC.  My first portrait session I charged $50 for the session with the digital files- that I really didn’t even know how to edit that well.  It was a very gradual / word of mouth process after that.  (As I was a pharmaceutical rep at the time.)

What do you love to photograph?

I love beautiful things, such as brides, and details, china, and flowers.  Old things, sentimental things, and people that may or may not be around for much longer.

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors?

I know this sounds crazy, but I really don’t have any famous photographers I look up to or read about.  I’ll watch a program on any photographer that I see is on or a movie coming out, but I don’t go out and read about anyone in particular.  My first mentor was my own wedding photographer, Kellie Kano.  She is still our family photographer and I learned so much from her as I was starting my business.

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them?

Wow – this is so hard!

1) My dad’s mom – who died of cancer the year I was born, 1977.  We never met each other.  All I have heard are wonderful things about “Jeanne Cornwell” – I would ask her what it was like raising my dad and what he was like as a child.

2) My mother’s mom – my grandmother “Pat Jennings” – I tribute most of my creativeness to her.  She passed away the year I was pregnant with Miller, my son, so she never met him.  I would ask her, “How much more fun is Heaven than earth?”

3) Goldie Hawn – I just LOVE her – if she acts in person as she does in character – she would be my best friend I think.  She would bring laughter to the table and I know my grandmother Pat would also love to meet her too.  I would ask her, “What has been your biggest mistake in life?”

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?

I’d say 75% of the time i know when I have a good shot – I usually scream out loud!  But then again 25% of the time there are a few that I just didn’t noticed on the back of my camera (shoot only digital) for one reason or another and I discover it in the editing process.

What makes you feel connected to your subject? 

Knowing them, asking questions, likes / dislikes.  everything really.  I come from a sales background so relationships are really important to me.

What’s on your photographic bucket list?

To go back to Italy again.  Any foreign town to me is so beautiful, any place outside the US.  I like experiencing different cultures.

What inspires you?

Color, light, simplicity, classy, traditional, timeless, and from another direction…business, entrepreneurship, work ethic, passion, women, mothers.

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client? 

Just listen to them; in most cases the client is right and should be right.  I also come from a customer service background, so I am always trying to please my clients.  Talk it out…not sure i have ever had this happen to me before!

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?

Take business classes (marketing) and sales classes.  it’s not just the art that will get you places, you have to learn how to sell yourself, and do it the right way.  

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?

I often do workshops, participate in continuing ed and networking through Engage!, or just pop up workshops that come to Charleston with different photographers.  I am a member of the Nikon Professional Service.

What makes you feel loved?

My husband – he is my biggest cheerleader!  My son miller (4 yrs – one & done) – calling me mommy and telling me how much he loves me.  My family in general – I love everyone in my family, we are all very close!!!  We are a huge support system for each other.  Or at least they are to me.  I learned so much from my parents!  From my father: business side of things, marketing, sales, relationships, the love of life…and from my mother: strong woman, speak your mind, leader, SMART, independence – i feel I am a great mix of both my parents

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?

Well of course, natural light! I have found that a little bit of fog or mist really makes beautiful pictures…the diffusion creates great skin tones!

What are your social media handles?

Instagram:  @jenningsking

FB:  jenningskingphotography

Website:  www.jenningskingphotography.com

What makes you feel pretty?

When my husband tells me so…he is very good at affirmation…also when I actually have make up and clothes on.  Since I became a photographer I work from home – so it is very rare I get dressed up with make up everyday now!

Do you have any other thoughts or things to say about your profession?

I LOVE what I do!  I love working hard.  “Work hard, play hard” is my motto.  I love the people I meet, life long friendships, truly.  That goes for clients and coworkers in the industry.  Being creative has been a part of me, and I love that now in my life I am able to do it as a job.  I consider myself very blessed and lucky.   I especially love being in Charleston, my husband brought me here in 2009 when we were engaged to be married.  It’s the perfect place for us.

Candids by Jennings King

The Photographer Project

State of Grace.  That’s where I am.  I am beyond honored to present to you The Photographer Project.

When I dreamt this up, I had my mind set on one photographer to help me accomplish this: Diana Deaver. Luckily for me, she said Yes! without really taking a day or two to think about it.  She sat across from me in a booth in Whole Foods, chai latte in hand, and said “Absolutely, I’m in.”  We both knew it would be an exercise in growth for each of us, and that we’d be asking a lot from the women who would be our subjects.  It’s no small feat to be a photographer and the subject of a portrait.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be presenting Diana’s portrait-magic, my makeup applications, and the opportunity to get to know some of the finest women-photographers in Charleston. Thank you, Ladies. You really came through, and it was a privilege to spend the time with you.

With love,

Pamela

Pimm

This is a story of thoughtfulness, mindfulness, growth, near-destruction, and perseverance. This is the story of Pimm.

It was early summer 2016 and I made a random post on Facebook asking where I could purchase a tree that normally grows in the wild: a mimosa tree.  Several people chimed in that I could “have” theirs as they are typically considered a trash-tree or weed, because they grow wild and are difficult to get rid of.  They are far from that to me. They remind me of everything good and sweet and pure of rural Georgia summer mornings and nights. And to see them in their glory, as in the photo above, when they are in full pink-puff bloom!

Kim Graham and Steven Hyatt, are two photographer friends of mine. Kim read my FB post and texted me that she was going to leave a “surprise” on my step. Steven had dug up this baby mimosa that was sprouting right outside his office. He and Kim placed it in a bag with its baby root system, and brought it to my front door. Notice how the leaves on this are closed. It’s part of its nature to open and close  at sunrise/sunset.
Pimm is a hybrid name of Pamela + Jim.  He sat in his plastic bag for a couple of days, and I’d water his big clump of dirt and roots while in residence on my porch. On day three, I chose a sunny place in my yard and planted the baby sapling. I was afraid my lawn service might not see him, so I staked him off, put mulch around him, and said a prayer for his growth. Every morning and evening it was such a treat to go out and water him. These are hardy plants and he began growing immediately.
My son and husband got into the daily ritual of am/pm checking of Pimm. We’d delight in every new sprout, watching his leaves open and close with the daylight or sunset. He loves water and every so often, some nice fertilizer mixed in was like a super-growth supplement. I changed out his stake to this conical one; he was growing tall, but branching out a bit, and yet was still delicate. This seemed a better fit at that time.
The wire of the tomato cage was actually thicker/larger than the stalk of the baby tree.
Here you can see that Pimm has had substantial growth; lots of new branches. I knew he liked the spot in the yard where he was placed. And already, he was outgrowing the tomato cage. About a month or so after this photo, I staked him to a 4-foot black pole for continued upright growth.
On October 8, Hurricane Matthew slammed into the SC coast. By and large, we were incredibly lucky that no substantive property damage happened. But our neighbor’s tree lost a large limb and fell into our yard. And yes, over Pimm.
I dreaded making this walk out to the side yard.  But amazingly, the side view showed that Pimm wasn’t taken out by the fallen branch! He was grazed, but not down. If possible, this made me love the little guy even more. He’d made it through the immense winds, a tree nearly toppling over on him, and the flooded yard.  He persevered and survived.
Pimm today. He looks like a gangly teenager, sprouting a floppy hairdo. I think he’s going to make it.

With a heart full of love and gratitude to Kim + Steven. And also to my husband Jim and son Culley for their keen interest in Pimm’s growth.