It has been 10 years since the first time I picked up a camera. I am surprised I stuck with photography this long considering how many other hobbies I’ve lost along the way. I made purses, sold cards, and even did Avon for a bit, and T-shirts! If you haven’t heard I have BIG newscoming in February about how I am changing my business. I thought that one way to help everyone make sense of what is coming would be to look at how I started. I want to bring you into my circle here to help you understand how I built along the way. I have done a general blog on this before but this is a bit more in-depth covering 2014-2015. This blog is the first in this series and it’s looking at my work from when I was 15 and had just started photography class at school. I think it’s cool to share because if you are a teen out there please know you can grow your skills into a business even at that age. I also think some of you art lovers might appreciate it. So let’s go. I had way too much fun going through these.
Portraits From the Start
From the start, I was in love with portraits! I started with portraits of people on the street and pictures of buildings. I was really scared of people getting mad so I would try and do portraits in stealth mode. I had to build the confidence to ask people for a picture.
Projects I Still Love
There were some projects or moments that I will never forget. They sparked my love for photography and made me some friends I still have today!
These two portraits were my first studio work. One was a study of the lighting of a Joni Mitchell portrait. The second was a project on making my little brother look like an adult for a project on irony. I remember being so excited because I got the light to do what it was supposed to! This was a win in understanding how to make drama come alive in portraits.
The exploration of this time was so much fun. I teamed up with the Baltimore City Mayor’s photographer and shot the back-to-school giveaway. I started messing with color developing the style that I have now. Shout out to all of my family members who involuntarily posed for me!
I started developing my warm and vibrant style in high school thanks to my friends and family modeling for me.
One project that I absolutely loved was Uniquely Human. A project where my friend Rebekah and I collaborated with our class to create a single portrait from 20 faces making universal emotional expressions.
I look back at this and I am so proud of myself and all of the people I met along the way. I had fun just playing, exploring, and connecting with people. Can anyone relate to having a moment of courage when it comes to chasing your dreams? Lately, I have been doing a major rehaul of Bethany J. Photography and looked over all of the stuff I did ten years ago. It makes me excited to dive back into making art again. I tend to remember the fear and nervousness I felt when I would make work and constantly wonder if it was any good. I think looking at the images and remembering that all of that stress did pay off gives me some bravery to make new things again. I kinda wonder what Bethany back then would think of me now. On that note, that’s all I got for this blog. Next time I am gonna get a bit into art school and my first client work. What would you tell yourself 10 years ago? Drop it in a comment below or DM me @bethanyjphotography everywhere.