Influences …


How much thought have you given to the people who have influenced your life? Not just photography, but personally and professionally.  I have had many such influences; the Toyota dealership general manager who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and made me the Internet manager of the dealership despite having no experience in that area, the photographer in PA that pushed me to get better at my craft and get out of my comfort zone, the business owner in NJ who showed me that there was much more to running a business than selling a product or service. We all can tell about influences that have shaped our lives.

I count among my photography influences people like D. Craig Flory, who contacted me after I ranted about something stupid on the OurPPA forum and told me that I was better than that rant and if I was willing, he could help me. Here was someone who I didn’t know, telling me that my ego was tripping me up. Over the following years, Craig has alternately boosted my confidence and popped my ego balloon (but in a constructive way). I earned my CPP (Certified Professional Photographer accreditation) and became a Certification liaison because of him.

Other influences were not as direct. The first photography speaker I ever saw was Joyce Wilson, D,Craig dragged me to the PPAofPA meeting where she was speaking. I was blown away, I love her work even though it is not my style but one thing that she said that has stuck with me: Whenever you have the camera out photographing a client, always make sure that you shoot something for yourself as well. I try to follow that.

I have picked up lighting techniques from a seminar that was given by Jerry Ghonis at the Guild of Delaware Valley. The Guild is a great resource for the folks up in the NJ/PA/DE area, monthly meetings with great speakers, it is one of the things I miss living down here in NC.

There are a great many resources out there to learn from, from East Coast School (which I am missing this year) to small workshops given in smaller locations. The important thing is to keep learning, one can never learn everything there is to know in this life.

I am writing this on the day before the funeral service for my good friend and radio co-host Tony Hood. He had been a large influence in my life since moving to the western NC area, introducing me to other photographers in the area, encouraging me to start teaching and by being willing to co-host a radio show on a visual medium.  We taught workshops together, including one where he joked about me photographing everything but the waterfall at a waterfall workshop.  Tony brought a sense of humor to what he did … he wanted to show his students that it was important to have good technique but one had to have fun while doing photography as well. On the afternoon he passed away, he and a couple of friends had spotted a bear out behind French Broad Imaging and ran outside to photograph it. It was during this time that he passed out.  It is ironic that he died doing what he enjoyed doing.

I am going to miss Tony, now who is going to make fun of me photographing rocks at waterfalls?

One reply on “Influences …”

Well said Louise. Tony was a force larger than life to so many of us here in the area. I remember our first meeting at Ritz Camera and have enjoyed all the laughs, constructive criticism, praise and nudging since. I’m going to miss him terribly…I still can’t wrap my head around this, but I, like so many others have agreed, he was doing what he loved when it was his time to go. I have met so many fabulous people because of him that otherwise would not have crossed my path and I learn from them as well. I think all of our lives were richer for having him in it. I can only hope he knew how much he was loved and how much he meant to all of us. Now, I’m hoping those closest to him will rally around Adrienne in the months and years to come as she navigates life’s waters without him and gets her feet back under her. Those of us left behind to miss him all know that Heaven is being shook up constantly now with his wild sense of humor.

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