What kind of photography do you most enjoy?
I like to photograph just about everything. My work tends to be interpretive. Creatively, I want to “add value” rather than just record what the lens captures. I’m learning all the time how to improve my technical skills – both camera and computer. But I don’t want the “techie” bit to overwhelm my delight in how I perceive the world around me.
How long have you been a photographer?
My first camera was a push-the-button and turn-the-dial Kodak Brownie. I remember one of my first “snaps” was of a girl I made from snow (she certainly wasn’t a snowman) in Yosemite Valley. The print was black and white and about 3” square. I’ve owned Canons mostly. There’s a Leica packed away somewhere. And I’ve used Polaroid transfer prints from travel photos to make artist’s books. But I’ve never been an equipment junkie. It’s all about “the artistic vision” for me.
My mother used to take me to an art gallery in Yosemite Valley. Ansel Adams’ work was on display. Mother bought me one of his incredible prints of Half Dome. I still have it on my wall.
Imogen Cunningham was another influence, though I don’t think I knew it at the time. Mother took me to her house to have my portrait done. She was my mother’s friend. An ordinary plant that was stuck in a corner of a small old wooden porch intrigued me. This plant became so elegant posed in a photograph by Imogen.
Today, I am interested in Catherine Wagner’s work (currently, she is exhibiting at Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco).
In college, I spent a whole year devoted to the darkroom (my camera was a Canon with a super duper lens). Fifty years later, I’m still working on my first perfect print. Only now I’m on an iMac and grappling with Adobe and Photoshop.
In March 2008, I joined Betterphoto.com. Charlotte Lowrie was my first BP teacher.
What are your photography goals?
My journey is slow as I try to free myself from recording or copying what is in front of me when I make a photograph. Instead of giving the viewer all the information, I want the viewer to have to work at it – make up his or her own story. This way the photograph lives on, producing questions and answers as one’s eyes wander through the image. I want to produce pictures that say “Carla shot that image”.
My goal is to use my camera like a paintbrush to express how I see and feel about the world. I’d like to capture the feeling tone of my subject whether it is a person or a teapot.
I am planning to put together some kind of mixed media imagery Incorporating photography, painting and light.
You can see my progress by checking out my bloghttps://carlasaunders.com/
How has BetterPhoto helped you attain them?
BP has helped me to understand the narrative, aesthetic, and emotional aspects of photography. At a time in my life when I needed a creative outlet I joined BP.com. I took some classes. When Masterpiece Membership was introduced I signed up. Having an assignment a month is a useful ‘prod’ for me. It gets me out shooting. The New York Summit gave me the opportunity to photograph New York. Ibarionex Parello introduced me to “follow the light.” and the idea of thinking about what do I want to say, why am I attracted to a particular setting.
My fellow members on Masterpiece Membership have shared their knowledge with me and encouraged me along the way. Jim Moitke, Kerry Drager, the teachers and staff at BP.com have given me a solid base as I reached out to learn about photography
Carla’s Wish List
Canon 50D: It looks like I have outgrown my Rebel
Places to visit: Indigenous tribes in South America, Australia, Hawaii, St. Petersburg, Russia, Antarctica. This year I plan to see America.
What do you carry in your camera bag?
Canon EOS Rebel xti Digital 400
EF28-135mm lens, 50mm f/1.8 lens and a 70-300mm lens
Memory cards, extra batteries, lens cloth, blower, UV and neutral density filters
Notepad and pen
Gitzo tripod with a Manfrotto head
Every day, I carry around a new Canon G11