Photography can be a lonely business, and a lonely art.
When I was a full-time photographer, I often felt like a lone wolf, moving from assignment to assignment, shoot to shoot, without a connection to the audience for my work and without the feedback from clients I needed to improve. Too often I heard “We love it; just give us more,” which feels nice, but impedes growth. And without detailed knowledge of the creative strategy that led up to the assignment, and without the foresight of all the different ways my work would be used, I was at a disadvantage as went out into the field.
When I became the photo editor for the international humanitarian agency Mercy Corps, each day some of the most talented photographers from around the world reached out to be hired. I tried my best to respond to everyone, but I found myself giving more detailed feedback — and assignments — to one of two groups: not the photographers who only showed their recent work with only their own vision; but instead, the photographers who had researched my organization and its mission, its visual style, its programming and the locations where we worked around the world, and tailored their pitches accordingly. In a deeper sense, I sought out people who wanted to work together in a meaningful way to help the world.
And now, as a freelance photographer, photo editor and consultant, I work with nonprofits, businesses and photographers around the world. I’ve heard from many in our industry that in this digital world there is a hunger for connection and authenticity, both in our work and in our day-to-day lives. I regularly write about this in a global sense, and I want to put it into action IRL, as they say.
Oregon is my home. We all have our own individual visions, and my goal is to make Oregon Focus a home for our state’s photo community, where those of us who make and admire photography can gather and collaborate — sharing ideas, information and inspiration.