Hello there and welcome to the month of December! It’s time to break out the mittens (or the swimsuits if you’re further south), trim the tree, wrap some presents, and introduce you to the last CMpro of the Month in 2012, the always lovely Anne Wick. Anne is a tremendous photographer who has been in love with this craft for quite some time and it has been a huge pleasure to watch her incredible growth over the last two years. It’s an honor to introduce Anne, a true artist, as the December CMpro of the Month!
december cmpro of the month | anne wick
Not too long ago you shared your photography journey here on our photography blog but for those who have not read it can you share with us how you got started with photography?
My first camera was a film camera. I bought it before I had my children, at a time when I would travel often. I brought it with me to Senegal, Bolivia, Argentina, and Malaysia to name a few. During my trips abroad, using my camera made me realize that photography was not only a documentary device for me, but also a fantastic way to create connection and encourage communication with the people I met along the way. After my son was born in 1998, traveling and photography became secondary; I rarely used my camera anymore. When my daughter was born in 2004 I got my first digital camera. The fact that digital allowed me to make mistakes encouraged me to shoot more. I used my camera in Auto Mode, I was completely ignorant about aperture, shutter speed and ISO, but I was happy. My love for photography grew slowly but surely. Soon I became the person in the family who always had a camera at hand. I slowly developed an “eye” and became aware of the importance of light. Then in 2011, my mother gave me her Canon 5D camera and I found the CM photography forums shortly after. This was the second “start” of my photography journey, an incredibly rewarding and enlightening journey.
What has been your biggest source of inspiration throughout your journey?
I was tempted to first say my daughter because she is my muse. Besides the fact that I love her to pieces, I couldn’t possibly have dreamed of a better subject to work with and to get inspired by. There is something so soulful and so generous about her – being able to capture this through my lens is like a present for me. I have so many other sources of inspiration that it’s hard for me to choose only one. Music inspires me. Books inspire me. Paintings inspire me. Colors inspire me. People. Stories. Love. Friendship. In fact, everything that calls to my senses and my emotions is a source of inspiration. The work of other photographers is of course another huge source of inspiration. There are so many talents to look up to.
You have a large support group consisting of fellow photographers. How has this benefited you through the years?
I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for my photographer friends on CM. They have really pushed me forward and they’re the ones who encouraged me to apply for CMpro. They have supported me when I was doubting myself and their hard work has inspired me to work harder. It’s also been very inspiring to see everyone growing months after months and see different styles emerge – I find it fascinating. I’ve also built close friendships along the way and I am so grateful for them.
You have a natural eye for photography and just started educating yourself in the craft less than two years ago. What has been the most exciting part for you during that time?
Without a doubt, the most exciting parts of my journey have been the workshops I took on CM. I have learned and grown tremendously with each and every one of them. Because I’m such a procrastinator and need to be under pressure in order to give my best, the workshop and its weekly or daily deadlines is a system that works great for me. It really pushes me out of my comfort zone and gets my creative juice flowing, whereas when I don’t have any deadline or challenge, I tend to find myself lacking inspiration and courage to try new things. The instructors ability to get the best out of everyone and the support given by the classmates are so enriching and encouraging. My last workshop was with Lynne Rigby; it was a very introspective and enlightening experience. This is another thing that I find amazing about the workshops I’ve taken, they have taught me not only about photography, but also about myself. I can’t wait to take the next one on my list which is probably Megan Cieloha’s Mastering Natural Light Indoors. I’ve been eying this one for a while now!
We never stop learning and growing. Is there anything in particular that you are setting your focus on next to learn or perfect?
I’d like to explore light further, better my composition skills and develop my artistic side. I’d like to start working on a series, maybe about skies. I’ve recently moved, and after spending 10 years in a city where the sky was always bright blue and perfectly clear, I am rediscovering the beauty of cloudy skies and all the nuances of light and color that come with them. I took this photo the other day, that I really love (and there is a doggie in there, can you see it?). So yes, skies and clouds sound like a good theme to start with. Plus, it’s a “non people” theme, which is also something that I’d like to explore because it’s out of my comfort zone.
Are you in business and how did you come to that decision?
I am not in business. I’m still pondering about it. I have a strange attraction/repulsion feeling about being in business. I would absolutely love to spend my time photographing people and it sounds like a dream, but on another hand, I wouldn’t want the business aspect of photography to take away my passion for it. I’m a perfectionist and I know I would spend a good amount of my time worrying about all kinds of things. I also have a very hard time selling myself. In fact, what I would need is an agent to take care all the promotion stuff for me.
You’re in the midst of a move. Do you see your business aspirations changing along with your location?
I just arrived here two weeks ago. It is definitely a place with more opportunities for a photography business than my previous location was and it’s only an hour away from Paris. So maybe this will encourage me to take the jump, who knows? I would also love to give photography classes. It’s hard to start anything at this time of the year but I’m really thinking about it for September. I’d love to teach a photography class for kids, too.
I’ve always been in love with the way you use light. What advice would you offer someone who is working on this particular skill?
I think the key point is to learn to see the light. Be obsessed with it. Observe closely how it falls on an object or a face, not only when you have your camera, but all day long, everywhere. If you don’t have your camera and you notice beautiful light, snap a photo with your phone. If you don’t have your phone, make a mental note of it. The more you practice seeing the light, the more you will be able to recognize good light and make the best of it in your work.
What is your favorite way to use light?
Window light is my most favorite. It can be easily adjusted and allows me to play on a wide range of nuances, from soft to dramatic. It’s also a fantastic light to use if you want to convey a feeling of intimacy and emotion. I would like to experiment with new types of light this year, though, especially backlighting.
If you could photograph your dream scenario what would that be?
I’d travel back in time and take a portrait of my grandmother Marie, whom I have never met because she died before I was born, another one of my father, whom I miss terribly, and take a portrait of me and my mother when I was a child.
Let’s talk about breakout sessions. Give us a little hint about what you have in store for us?
This breakout is quite different from the breakouts that have been featured so far. It really focuses on the psychological approach of photography rather than the technical aspect. It gives direction on how to create a stronger connection with your subject, capture emotion and convey authenticity. For me photography, and portraiture for that matter, is really about people and relationships. Creating a genuine connection with your subject, having them trust you so they feel comfortable enough to let their guard down and show a glimpse of their authentic self, these are for me the key points to capturing honest and compelling portraits. I also talk about the importance of observation, intuition and patience, and why I think we should embrace vulnerability. I give exercises and challenges so you can put into practice some of the concepts that I talk about, but it’s also the kind of material that is worth letting “sit” and be digested for a while. I absolutely loved writing it and I learned a lot about myself during the process. I hope it will be as enlightening for my readers as it has been for me.
Photography wise, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still learning, and teaching.
What goals, if any, will you be setting for yourself for the new year?
Practice, practice, trust myself more and keep dreaming.
Make sure you head over to Anne’s website, blog, facebook and Instagram to view the rest of her gorgeous work. You can also view one of her sources for inspiration on her Pinterest board and if you have a question for Anne please visit her ‘ask a pro’ thread within the photography forum.