One of the cool things about being a Craft & Vision author is the ability to have direct contact with people who buy my books. With my most recent book, Shoot + Share: Getting Your Photographs Out Into the World, I've been able to watch a small group of Craft & Vision Community members—dubbed the Shoot+Share 7—work through the exercises I discuss in the book in order to determine why they want to share their photographs, who they need to share them with, which photographs to share, and finally, where the best places are for them to show their work to the world.
It's been interesting to see each participant consider their own work in light of the topics discussed in the book. From the beginning, everyone was thinking deeply about why they wanted to share their work. About her reasons for sharing, Roberta Harper said:
“I personally am infatuated with this earth. My spirituality comes from being connected to the earth and appreciating the visual feast that is often presented to us in natural environments. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to experience this but not everyone else does. If through my lens I can encourage someone else to trigger their sense of curiosity or persuade them to be more physically engaged in nature, then I would be pleased.”
That's a powerful message, and one that would have Ansel Adams nodding his head at in agreement.
Chelin Miller took a page from my other C&V book, Close to Home: Finding Great Photographs in Your Own Back Yard, and used her familiarity with her childrens' school to create an online album of photos from a charity sale there, some of which were later published in the school magazine.
"For this third assignment I have chosen an example of the work I am sometimes asked to do for my children’s school. Many of you will be more interested in the professional side of photography – and don’t get me wrong, I am too. But I haven’t seen many examples of the more mundane, familiar side of photography – which is just as valid when it comes to sharing."
The hardest exercise for the group, and one I find just as difficult, was the self-editing exercise. It's something that never gets easy, no matter how experienced you become as a photographer. Ken Udle really took this one to heart and whittled over 2000 images into a baker's dozen for a photo series to share with family and friends. Ken writes:
"As Stuart says, this is a time consuming but important task. It helped me realize the relationship between the pictures that work best in a portfolio will sometimes exclude pictures I considered one of my favorites. They will eventually be shared too, I just need to find or take pictures that will compliment them."
It's been fascinating to see all of these folks turn my words into action and I'm thrilled that they've been able to push themselves forward with Shoot + Share. My hat is off to Ken Udle, Chelin Miller, Roberta Harper, Patti Castagne, Jennifer Wolf, Peter Michael Dedes, and Ingrid Abraham for sharing their process with the C&V Community and for their hard work throughout the process.
So, dear Shoot + Share 7, I'd like to thank all of you for participating in these exercises, so each of you can select any one of my photographs from either of my Craft & Vision books, Shoot + Share or Close to Home, and I'll send you a signed print of it. It's a way for me to share my photographs with you and it's the least I can do for all your hard work. Please contact me through the web site here with your mailing address and your choice of images and I'll get it out to you as soon as possible.
My thanks again to the Shoot + Share 7 for bringing the book to life for me, and also to Sabrina Henry for setting this up over on the C&V Community.
I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Shoot + Share 7's work out in the world—and yours, too!