To prove that my photography isn't simple luck, and to find any trend in my photography, I thought I should some of my favorite photos from years past. To that end, I have gone back into the depths of my hard-drive. I'm looking back to my first camera, my shaking hand, and my indiscriminate eye, and I'm following the progress though today, and the plans I have for the future.
It may not sound that long, but 2006 was almost 7 years ago. 2 and a half thousand days. Sixty thousand hours.
I only have 13 photos in my collection from 2006.
As I recall, I only kept photos until I ran out of space on my SD card. This one, numbered IMG_0048, is my oldest surviving photo.
With a baseline like this there really was only one direction my work could go.
I credited any successful photographs to basic probability. Take enough photos, in enough different ways, and a few had to be good. I spent a lot of time sifting through those images, looking for some pattern, something I could repeat.
In Assisi I started to catch on. I snapped hundreds of photos while I was in Italy, but the moment I took that one in Assisi (the image on the right), I figured something out. That image gave me a new energy. A type of energy I've been chasing, and using, every since.
In 2009 I grew quicker at the draw, catching moments before they slipped away. I learned more about exposure, and balancing the benefits and tradeoffs of each setting on the camera.
I traveled across the eastern seaboard past Charleston, all the way up to New York City. Climbing mountains and walking through surf, I explored everywhere I could. I trained my eyes even more when I took a class taught by Byron Baldwin, a contemporary, and friend of my grandfather. I began to pay attention to movement, and speed, and not just of the subject, but of foreground, middle ground, and background. I continued to push myself and my camera more than ever before.
Fun fact: I chose to do a photo essay on feet not because I particularly like feet, but because I though it would be difficult. I thought "What if I take a terrible idea, and make something really cool?" Maybe I was just being cocky.
I found at least 3 other Matthew Brien photographers online, and I made a decision. I decided if I wanted to do anything with photography, I would need to stake my claim and give myself a rock to build on. I worked relentlessly, printing in the darkroom,shooting my first solo wedding, building my website, and filing it with photos.
I even built my own lens out of the lens that broke my camera the year before. I stood on cliffs and in churches. I explored open fields under rainbows, and in mental institutions.. I decided that I could no longer just push the limits of my skills, I had to start pushing my physical and mental limits as well.
I've learned from myself, from my friends, from my family, from my teachers, from the world, from my mistake, and my successes. And, I have no intention to stop learning.
I hope that you will continue to learn with me.
If you don't know, my next learning, stretching, and personal boundary pushing project is in Rome next summer.
I am going to spend 5 weeks in Rome, and attempt to capture the energy and spirit of the city. Through the lights of night, and through the element of water. It's the biggest goal I've ever set for myself, and I can't wait to see what I come up with.
You can help me get there, guarantee yourself a copy of the awesome photos that I'll be bringing back, and maybe learn something in the process by checking out and backing my kickstarter. Grazie!