My 30th Anniversary March 14th, 2017


When I think of thirty years, I always think of it in terms of a prison sentence.  The bad guy got 30 years for murder. Kind of hard to think of it in good terms for me at times, or kind hard to not think of it in the negative.  Maybe that’s the cynical side of me coming through. 30 years; over a quarter of century; 3 decades; 6 hash marks on the sleeve of life.  30 years, damn! I have taken many of hundreds of thousands of photos in 30 years. Film and digital, countless hours in a darkroom, driving to and from shoots, standing for hours on end in a camera store or a crime scene.  Almost three quarters of my life.  On a life line I’m in my adulthood of my craft.  I like to tell my students that.  If a person has only been shooting photos for 2 years, they are just a toddler. 10 - 15 years a person would be in their photographic adolescence.   My old photography teacher Steve Dzerigian taught me that one. And you know, I can pretty much remember the circumstances behind every image I have made; with the exception of my law enforcement work.  But even those it’s not hard to remember what happened or what they were about.  And that is 20 years of shooting in law enforcement.  But in my 30 years, I think one of the most important things I have discovered along the way is this is what makes me happy.  It makes me think of the then and now, instead of the what if’s in life.  I make the image, and I make myself.  I include some of me in every image I make.  I guess that’s what makes them good (to me). I see something that is meaningful to me at the split second and I create it.  I don’t make the image mine. I add a piece of myself to the image to make it me.  The camera sees the subject and a piece of me, and just records the event.  I just help it to see.  Imogen Cunningham said, when I go to make a picture I don’t hunt for it. It just happens and I capture it.  I feel very strong about this.  Yes, I go shooting, but it’s more of me time that presents images in front of me and I am just in the right place at the right time to capture them.  I know what I do and I know what I love, and what I love is making photographs. We will have to see what images come in the next 30 years.   

(Above) Two Tones of the Sun. (Right) Under the Over Pass.  

Becoming Professional  June 6, 2016

       Whats in a camera is what you make of it.  I tell my students this all the time.  It isn't the camera that makes the photographer, it's how you use the device and your person that makes you a photographer.  How you develop yourself and your skills.  As photographers you have to have a passion for what you do.  So many times I will see beginners buy the most expensive or even the most inexpensive camera and literally over night become a "professional" photographer.  Then charge way too much for something they have no idea how to do.  You can't develop the skill of a photographer overnight, or even over a few months and expect to be a professional.  And it's important other see you this the same way, especially paying clients.   To be truly professional, one will act in the best interest of yourself and the art, and then of the client.  And only when a person stops referring to themselves as a "professional" will they truly become professional.  Photographer Joe Buissink said, you have to put passion first. If you put passion first, the money will follow.
 
    If you are asked to take photographs for someone, sure why not. Do it!  But don't market yourself as a professional especially when you lack experience.  Let them know right away that you are not a career photographer, and you are a novice, you are learning and you will make mistakes.  When someone has high expectations they will expect certain things from an individual and you can get yourself into a heap of trouble if you don't deliver.  By telling them you are an amateur or your skill level is novice, it's kind of a forced learning curve for your benefit,  and they will have to understand.  As a beginner, you aren't a seasoned photographer with a back-up plan or a solution to all problems.  And you may not know your gear all that well either.  As an artist, you are still developing your style.  You need to keep your passion for your work first, you will begin to recognize your own work and what you like. Your style will develop and you will know what goes into a good shot.  Sometimes even the shots we like the most, others do not. But until we and they recognize the quality of the image will it become great work.  It's important to know your gear and create a style all your own.  Learn from the masters.  Don't copy their work, but it is okay to mimic a style. Adams, Steiglitz, Cunningham or Lange, or others. Keep them in mind and find someone's work you like.  Look at their work, and by seeing what they saw is a good way to learn how to see yourself.  When you put the forethought into an image, and pre-visualize what you want to see, you will make it happen.  What goes into the camera should be your thoughts and what comes out of the camera will be your art. Grow and show others you are growing then then you will become a photographer.    - Mickey Burrow

NEWS:  A Big Win!  October 14, 2016

    

 This month I hit another mile stone with my photography and it’s great news.  I entered three prints into The Big Fresno Fair; two in the professional division and one in the special section called, “Home Grown Happiness”.   My photograph titled  “Two Tones of the Sun”, won Best of Show; and the second titled “Under the Overpass” was awarded first place!  Wait it gets better, the third image titled “Time to Harvest” was awarded an honorable mention.I was more than pleasantly surprised and thrilled.  There were a lot of great entries by some of Fresno County’s up and coming photographers.

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"The Camera Ace"