Friday, September 4, 2015

Feature Friday with Rebecca & Jackson Waldock of Rebecca Waldock Photography!

A bit of a switch up for our Feature Friday post this week - we have mother/son pair of photographers sharing their thoughts on their photographic journeys, as well as each sharing examples of their gorgeous work <3

Please tell us about yourself…

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room first.  I want to give credit, where credit is due.  I did not shoot the winning image in the “Bond” challenge last week.  My 9 year old son, Jack did.  He is the winner, not me.  I felt a little weird having my name attached to the winning image, when I didn’t shoot it.  I felt like I cheated on a test in school.  I was blown away when I saw the image.  He caught such a raw and honest moment. It hurts every time I look at that image, yet I am so grateful that he picked up my camera.  So, having said that, I am going to take this opportunity to tell you about my journey as a documentarian and why I am passing the photography torch to my kids.

I am a mother of 3. I am a wife, a cancer survivor, a tom boy, and most of my friends would say I am a smart ass.  I am a documentary photographer.   Why do I choose to shoot in the documentary style?  Because I like to tell it like it is.  What I look for and strive to capture is life in it’s rawest form.  Real, everyday, imperfect life.  I am not one who will make a kid run upstairs and change that dirty shirt before I take a photo.  The dirty shirt IS the photo.  I don’t need or want my images “prettied up”.  I want an account of what is happening now.  Not what I think others want to see or what I think they should see.  When I release my shutter, it is intentional. There was something in that moment that was important to me.  The importance may have been that it was a totally mundane moment.  It may have been a special milestone.  I want to remember both…and everything in between.  I think photographs are an incredible way to tell our stories.  They have a way of bringing us back to a moment in time and letting us feel things all over again.  

Now that you know a bit about my photographic style and philosophy, I will tell you about why I am teaching my kids to shoot.  First, I think photography leaves an incredible legacy.  I have very few photos from my childhood and a terrible memory.  (I may be overcompensating.) Second, I love to shoot.  I love to edit.  I think it’s fun.  There is a beautiful relationship between science and art in photography.  Left brain, right brain…everybody wins.  First, you have to learn the rules, then it is fun to experiment and break them.   I also believe that a shared interest/passion between a parent and child is very valuable. Handing a camera to a child can also help teach responsibility.  Camera equipment is expensive and relatively fragile.  You must handle it with a reasonable amount of care.  My kids know how much my camera means to me, therefore, they are very careful with it.  My main reason for putting a camera in my kids hands is to see the world from their point of view and learn what is interesting and important to them.  I think you can learn a lot about someone when you look at what they shoot for pleasure.  I love the following quote:  “If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.” - Unknown

Many people (including my husband) cringe at the sight of my big fancy camera in the hands of a child.  I don’t.  I have lots of insurance.  
If you hand your camera over to a minor and teach them how it works, one of two things is going to happen:

1.They will drop your camera and break the lens right off of the mount and shatter the mirror into a million little pieces and break your lens.  You will come up with combinations of profanity that did not previously exist.  I have had this happen.  (I can still hear the crunch sound when it hit the floor and I can still see the “I told you so” look from my husband.)

Or 2. They will learn something.  They will look closer at the world around them.  They will document a moment in time.  They will give you the heads up on something they find beautiful.  Or they will take 79 photos of a squirrel in the back yard or 23 photos of you from a very unflattering angle.  I happen to have both stored safely in my Lightroom catalog.

I am not saying teaching a kid to shoot in manual is easy.  Exposure, composition,  and focus all take time to master. But if you break it down into little bites, they do get it.  Then, sit them down at a computer with Lightroom and Photoshop….hours of fun.  They love turning the sky green and turning people’s eyes red.  

So, why am I teaching them to shoot?  Because I can.  Because they want to learn.  Because one day when you least expect it, your kid might take a photo that takes your breath away.  Mine did.  

When I was loading my images for the day and the photo that Jack shot of me and my dog came up, I knew I had taught my son something.  This isn’t about photography at all. I had taught him to acknowledge, respect, and value poignant moments.   When I saw that image, I knew that he knew how much our dog meant to me.  He knew how much I was hurting.  He knew that the moment was precious, albeit sad.  He knew it was worth documenting.

Please tell us about yourself...

My name is Jackson.  People call me Jack.  I just started 4th grade.  I will be 10 in 2 weeks.  I like to ski and play baseball.  I wear glasses.  I like Doritos.

 What sparked your passion for photography?
Jack:  I just saw my mom do it, and she asked if I wanted try.  I like to steal my mom’s camera when she is sleeping.  

Rebecca:  I have loved photography for as long as I can remember.  I remember crying my eyes out when I was 6 years old because my 2 older sisters got Kodak Instamatic cameras for Christmas, and I didn’t get one.  Not fair.
I love that one image can tell a long story. When done well, photos evoke a strong emotion or reaction.  The image that Jack shot is a perfect example.  That photo speaks.

 What's in your camera bag right now?

JackIt is my mom’s camera bag.  She lets me use anything in there as long as I am careful and it’s not raining.  She also makes me carry it a lot when we are out.

Rebecca:  Nikon D810, Nikon D7100, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, 24mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.4, GoPro Hero 4, Zeiss wipes, lens brush, various CF and SD cards.


 What is your dream shoot or project?

Jack: I want to be the guy taking the photos of the guys going off of the ski jumps at the Olympics and X Games.

Rebecca: Honestly, I am doing it.  I am two-thirds done with my first 365 project.  My family members are my most interesting subjects.  I set my images to run as a slideshow as my screen saver.  I catch myself watching it for long periods of time.  

Outside of my family, I am very interested in shooting the homeless population around the country.  I enjoy taking the time to hear their stories and learn about their lives.


 What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

Jack:  Being young doesn’t mean you can’t take good pictures, and take off the lens cap.

Rebecca: I’d suggest shooting daily.  The more you shoot, the better you get.  Try things, break rules.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Find a photographer whose work you love, and ask questions.  Put yourself out there!  Try to make your work your own.  You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.  Don’t limit yourself to only “happy” images.  Learn to do a GREAT black and white conversion.  It is timeless and will always serve you well.  Back button focus - use it.

Find more of Rebecca's (and hopefully Jack's too!) beautiful work here:

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos & wonderful interview!! Congrats Jack & Becky!


Popular Posts