Personal Photography Project of Caroline Jensen
30 day lensbaby challenge
What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
I had wanted to play with the Lensbaby products for a very long time, many years in fact. When I got the green light to buy a large kit, I just jumped on it. I had a pretty good idea that there would be a learning curve, so I set out to give myself a thirty day challenge. It actually ended up being much longer than that.
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
The biggest obstacle was the learning curve of the lenses. I am pretty sure I did everything wrong at first…as in everything was a blurry mess and unusable. I quickly learned a few tricks by accident that made things easier. By the second week I had created a method for the madness and was quite happy with the images I was producing. All of the lenses are manual focus, which created quite a challenge too.
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
I have learned that I do better with loose guidelines and open-ended challenges. I didn’t put any restrictions on what I shot, but only defined the lenses I would use for the challenge. Really, I just carried my camera everywhere with a Lensbaby attached and shot anything that intrigued me. I also learned a great deal about manually focusing lenses. This alone proved really valuable and had a profound impact on my work. I was afraid of it at first, but the Lensbaby lenses taught me to let go of my camera doing all the work. The entire frame became open to me when I stopped worrying about focus points. It was really liberating.
Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?
It was during this project that I really found myself photographically. Many call it “finding their style”, but it was really me finding myself. I love creating without restrictions and the process of letting go of focus points and embracing the blur of the lenses proved to be just what I needed to feel comfortable in my own skin. I found that the images often had a painterly feel to them which resonated with my love of classical painters. It was as if huge blinders fell off my eyes and I could just be me for the first time. My work became very personal and I let go of trying to be like other photographers.