My Photography Journey by Shannon Wilkinson
When I was a child, I had an old 110 camera. We lived around the corner from a Kodak kiosk and I would ride my bike over to the kiosk to get film developed. I don’t remember how old I was or when I got that camera but for as long as I can remember I have loved photography.
I was born in the late 60’s and digital cameras were not even a blip on the radar. As I grew, I documented my life with that old 110. When my first child, Alyssa, was born in 1990, I purchased my first 35mm camera and used it to document her childhood and in 1997 I got my first digital point & shoot. It was then that my obsession with photography truly began.
Like so many others, I purchased my first DSLR (a brand new Nikon D60) so that I could get incredible images of my children. I had gone through years of infertility and miscarriages after my first child was born and it would take 15.5 years to have another baby so I did not want to miss a single moment. I took literally thousands of pictures of Olivia after she was born but didn’t love what I was getting and felt certain that I just needed to get a better camera to improve my images.
These are some of the first images I took with it:
I thought these were some of the best pictures ever…I mean, I was clearly amazing. It was around this time that I found Clickin Moms, a forum that was still in its infancy but was filled with some incredibly talented women. I spent all of my time trying to learn and grow but I was still using flash and shooting in auto.
I finally made the leap into manual mode but I had zero understanding of lighting and the first images were bad. I also didn’t know how to post process so my processing was all over the place.
But I kept practicing and practicing and practicing some more. I read everything I could on the forum…the tutorials, the posts, the cc forum…everything and then I practiced again and one day it started to all come together. This was the first picture I was really proud of.
Sometimes I would still blow it as seen below:
But for the most part I was happy with the progress I was making.
As my skills improved, I started to become dissatisfied with the direction my photography was going. I didn’t feel like I had a clear and defined style so I started to really work on defining myself as a photographer. I love this image of my oldest daughter and it was this image that helped me discover my love of black & white photography.
Today my style is quite defined. I am mostly a black & white photographer whose work is moody and slightly dark. I have learned to embrace that part of my personality and incorporate it into my body of work. I like to think that people know my images when they see them.
This is an image that was recently accepted into a juried show…I’m rather proud of this achievement, as I have wanted this for a long time.
I’m back to shooting film again and working on a project that expresses in images the feeling my daughter has while going through treatment for a recently diagnosed illness.
Photography for me is a constant journey and I hope to never be done growing but it is always nice to see how far I have come. Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.