Sunday, July 11, 2010

Working in Other Mediums: Photography

Dawn Okoro shooting Shante for the "Power" series. (photo credit www.michaelshanephotography.com)

I started off drawing as a child and became comfortable with that. Then I learned to paint and became really comfortable with that. Since photography plays such a large role in my painting process, I felt that it was important to improve my photography skills.

Initially, I was afraid to pick up the camera-- I knew very little about operating a camera or lighting. I didn't want to mess things up. Hence, I would create artwork based on existing photos or I would have a professional photographer capture my concepts for me. A little over a year ago, I decided to step behind the camera and I'm glad I did.

Learning how to shoot is making me a better painter. Photography is teaching me how to better manipulate lighting and composition. Its helping me take what is in my head and manifest that visually and really get what I want out of the photo shoot.

At an art talk I did earlier this year, someone asked me if I now consider myself a photographer. If I were to label myself then a long list of nouns would surround my name. I am comfortable being called a painter, photographer, or multimedia artist depending on the context. I definitely plan to allow some of my photos to stand on their own and let them be the art.

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