A new series for Light School…a new post each Saturday from the Light School contributors, answering a few questions about photography and their background. Enjoy!
Rebecca Burbidge, North Sky Photography…aka Bex
What part of the world did you grow up in, and do you think it influenced your photography aesthetic at all?
I grew up in rural New England, in a tiny farm town nestled in the Berkshire mountains. I was surrounded by empty, open fields and mountains. It was all about space, both personal and geographical. I did not see the ocean in person until I was a teenager. I think my love for vast, barren spaces comes from this upbringing, but I partner it now with my love for the seashore.
Are you self-taught, or have a more formal photography background?
I studied at Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts in their Digital Photography program. What I love about this curriculum is that it teaches all aspects of being a professional - from branding to networking to the technical aspect of nearly every kind of photography job. I walked away with a career already started, and definitely hit the ground running.
Is photography your day job, or primary hobby?
Photography is absolutely my day job. I also have another day job, but they both make me the same amount of money so I’m sticking with both for awhile, until photography takes over completely.
Have you done any travel photography? If so, what are your favorite places?
Most of what I have done is travel photography, some paid, some unpaid. My favorite places in the world are Iceland, London, Alaska and Costa Rica.
You are given infinite resources to make the photography shoot of your dreams come true. What would it be?
I would love nothing more than a Kickstarter type of project that would allow me to travel the world and document it via video, photography and writing. Anyone who is willing to contribute to such a project is more than welcome to do so. I want to see everything, and I want to share it with everyone.
What have you learned about yourself through studying photography? How does it shape how you see the world?
I have learned that I thrive on solo time. I do my best work when I am shooting and traveling alone. I am forced to rely on myself and to solve my own problems. I second guess everything when I am working in a group, and tend to be less focused. On my own, I have no choice but to make it work. I can take my time and assess each step without holding anyone else up, and each step is more calculated than the one before.
This makes me see the world more openly, and realistically. Without someone around to distract me, I slow down to see everything for what it really is. It helps me to realize that I can do anything I want to, without the help of anyone else. Minor problems become blips on my radar once I have overcome massive obstacles on my own. I’m stronger because of it.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while studying/practicing photography?
Patience. I am as good a photographer as anyone else out there making a living doing it. I have talent and drive, and sometimes I just need to slow down and reassess before I make my next move. When I see something I love, I stop and pick it apart. How many lights did they use? Where did they put them? What kind of shadows did they create? What did they do in post? In dissecting each step, I realize that I already have all the tools I need to make amazing images.
Words of wisdom for new photographers…
Shoot. Shoot a lot. Shoot everyday. If you do not shoot, you cannot improve. Someone once told me that it takes at least 50,000 photographs before you find your own style, and at least another 100,000 before you perfect it. That’s a minimum of 137 photographs a day for a year or two before you even get your feet off the ground. Shoot!!
Also, ask questions. Of yourself, of your peers and of other photographers. Sometimes the solution to your biggest problem lies in a very simple answer. Which you might not have ever known unless you asked. Ask!!!
Photography by Bex