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Lessons learned

From: Narrative Portraiture: On Location in Texas with Keith Carter

Video: Lessons learned

Having the opportunity to photograph someone you admire and respect, someone who has influenced your life, is a huge privilege, and as I reflect back upon that photo shoot of Keith, there are really two main lessons that I learned. The first lesson has to do with influence. You know, to a greater or lesser degree, we are all influenced by other photographs, by other photographers. When we are out there creating our own images that influence comes to mind. But what we have to do is we have to absorb that influence while we fight off the urge to impersonate.

Lessons learned

Having the opportunity to photograph someone you admire and respect, someone who has influenced your life, is a huge privilege, and as I reflect back upon that photo shoot of Keith, there are really two main lessons that I learned. The first lesson has to do with influence. You know, to a greater or lesser degree, we are all influenced by other photographs, by other photographers. When we are out there creating our own images that influence comes to mind. But what we have to do is we have to absorb that influence while we fight off the urge to impersonate.

It's so easy for influence to become impersonation. It's almost like the musician who plays someone else's song. If we want to have our own voice, yes, we absorb influence, but we stick to our guns. We create images that mean something to us. Now the other lesson that I learned has to do with trusting your gut. As I explained in the photo shoot, the first day of shooting I created images that were good, but they didn't just match to the photographs that I wanted to make.

I needed to trust my gut. My gut was unsettled. I needed to pay attention to that. You know, as artists, as photographers, we have to pay attention to some things that other people completely discard, and if we pay attention to those things, they can make a stronger and better artists.

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