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:

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

Sometimes I got nothing more than a snapshot.
The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

Sometimes I would still blow it as seen below:

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

But for the most part I was happy with the progress I was making.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

The photography journey of Nevada photographer Shannon Wilkinson

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.

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