Today’s interview is with Pam Korman!
Hello Pam! Can you start us off by telling everyone a bit about yourself?
Sure, I would love to! I live in the Philadelphia area and have been married to my amazing husband for 20 years. We have three teens, two boys and a girl. My oldest is heading off to college in the fall so this is an interesting time for my family. My business background is in advertising and marketing so I came to photography kind of late in life. I started shooting in June of 2010 and I don’t think I have put down my camera since. It has really become an all-consuming passion for me.
I see that you are a lover of all things film. It is surely getting more and more popular in the photography industry. How has film challenged you as an artist?
You are so right, I do love all things film and it is really exciting for me to be part of the resurgence. For me, I never felt I fully understood photography until I started to shoot film. It refined my understanding of exposure and really made me develop a much stronger eye for composition. It is true that you have to slow down when you shoot film and make each frame count, so I have become much more accountable for what I choose to include in the frame and why.
I noticed from your website that your image “Solace” was accepted into The Center for Fine Art Photography Exhibition. Congratulations! What a lovely shot! Please tell us how you were introduced to the juried shows.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that. It was very exciting for me and I have recently had three other images accepted into exhibitions. Two of those are film images so that was especially rewarding for me.
As to how I was introduced, that was through my good friend and fellow CMer, Sharon Kain. She is also a hobbyist and had found a lot of success in the juried show world and loved having that outlet for her work. She encouraged me to put my work out there (something that had not been easy for me) and I am glad she did.
Your One Bench series is just amazing and I noticed it featured in Click magazine! How wonderful to be published! That project is so much about people watching for me, something that I personally love to do. Is that what kicked off the idea for One Bench?
First, I have to say how much I love Click. Truly! Each issue has been better than the last. And, it was an incredible honor for me that One Bench was included, along side projects from some amazing photographers, in the magazine.
I am like you and I love to people watch but that isn’t really how that series came to be. The series was actually born out of a workshop I did with Meg Bitton. I generally like to shoot single subjects in clean, uncluttered ways. She reminded me that the only way to grow is to constantly challenge ourselves so, for two weeks, she encouraged me to shoot only cluttered, messy, people-filled images and, from that, One Bench was born. I will be forever grateful for that experience because it opened me up to new ways of thinking about my work and has helped me create stronger images.
I read on the CMblog that you began a new personal project this year. Can you tell me about this new project that is entirely film based? Perhaps you could share an image or two as well.
It is a project on water called, at least for now, Water Memory. It is based on a strange, and unproven, idea that water has a memory of things that have been dissolved in it. My original intention was to have the project be entirely film based but I have found some digital work slipping in here and there. I happen to love water (must be that Pisces in me), and it represents life to me, so I am exploring it in a variety of ways through this project. Here are two film images that are currently part of the series. The first is one of the film images that I mentioned earlier was selected into a gallery.
Can you share your current favorite image with us and why?
Sure, I would be happy to although I seem to change my favorites quite frequently. I think at the moment this is my current favorite.
What do you find most inspirational? Light? Location? Mood?
Oh, this is an interesting question. I would have to actually add my own and say story (although light is a very close second). There is generally a story in my head that I am trying to tell with my images or, at least, a point of view I am trying to communicate and that is what motivates me. I have a number of ongoing themes I like to explore and so, even when you see a single image from me, many times it is part of an ongoing collection of images.
It seems that so many photographers struggle with being in business vs. being a hobbyist. Did you dip your toe into the business side of photography and how did you come about your final decision on being in business or not?
Yes I did, but very briefly, and I quickly decided it wasn’t for me. I truly love portrait photography and there are so many photographers who do it amazingly well. I just don’t think I was cut out to be one of them.
What made you decide to apply for CMPro although you’re not in business, but rather a hobbyist photographer?
That is an easy one! I love CM and much of who I am as a photographer is thanks to this community. I am forever grateful to the members, the teachers and the mentors I have had and the friends I have made. There came a point when I wanted to give back to CM in new ways and becoming a CMPro has allowed me to do that. Also, as a hobbyist, it was a way of validating the quality of my work and that was important to me, and my personal growth.
I know many people would love to try film, myself included. Can you offer a few tips for those of us who are interested in experimenting?
Yes, I’d be happy to since I am always encouraging new filmies! I would start with a 35 mm film camera from the same brand as your digital camera. For me, I shoot Nikon so I would recommend the Nikon F100. You can pick up one in good condition for around $200 or so. What is nice about this is most of your lenses should work with the camera, most of the controls will be similar and there is a reliable light meter built into the camera so you don’t have to learn to use an external light meter. I would also encourage someone just starting out in film to pick up a copy of Jon Canlas’ Film Is Not Dead (FIND) book. It is a great resource.
Film is a pretty forgiving medium so you have to worry less about blowing your highlights. I would recommend starting with color film because it has more exposure latitude then B&W. I would recommend Kodak Portra 400 as a great color film to start with, plus it is my personal favorite. Generally, you want to shoot color film a stop or two overexposed.
Also, part of the key to great film images is a great lab. Developing a relationship with them so they know how you like your film developed is also important. Part of how your image looks is determined in the scanning process so if your lab understands your preferences, your images will be better.
Also, come on over to the film forum on CM. There is an active, passionate group of women there, many with vast experience, who are always willing to share what they know, offer advice and provide encouragement.
A little birdie told me that you’re getting ready to launch a breakout session and I am itching to know what that is all about. Can you please give us a little teaser on what’s to come?
I cannot even begin to tell you how giddy, excited and a touch nervous I am about my Breakout. It has been incredibly fun to put together. I promise it is chock full of helpful information that can be easily incorporated into anyone’s style or type of photography. It is called The Memorable Image | Developing a Critical Eye for Composition and Editing. My goal is to share ways of using fundamental compositional elements to create your most memorable images and to help you hone your critical eye when choosing your best work. I also talk about how to edit your images to strengthen the composition. I share my entire thought process in the Breakout. I really hold nothing back. I am pretty much an open book and it is my hope that what I talk about helps people create some of their best images.