Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Catherine Auger!

This week, Catherine of Vanilla Tree Photography has challenged you to share a self-portrait. Enjoy her series of evocative portraits and learn about her relationship with photography here!

1. Tell us about yourself:

I'm Catherine and I have been doing photography for about 6 years now. I live in Idaho. I've been married for almost 12 years and I have two kiddos, a boy (8) and a girl (6). I have a Bachelor's degree in Economics with a minor in Political Science. I was planning on going to law school, who knows, I might still do that someday. A few things I love to do are play the piano, sew, do crafty things, be outside, watch movies, sleep, ride horses, eat chocolate, and be a background extra in movies/tv shows once in a while.

2. What ignited your interest in photography? What fuels it now? 

I have always been a picture taker. My parents bought me lots of disposable cameras and even my own little film camera when I was 12. I loved taking nature shots and still do. I am very inspired by nature as well as vintage and industrial things. Like a lot of moms, after having kids I wanted to learn to be a better picture taker. So that's what really ignited my desire to learn how to use a DSLR camera.
During my photography journey, I discovered I really love doing fine art, fashion, and self portrait photography. I feel like my camera and photoshop help me to achieve the art I've always wanted to make but have never been a good enough drawer/painter to do so. And of course my kiddos still inspire me and I make them my little fine art muses when I can. They do have that 'photographer's child syndrome' thing going on, so I can only push my luck with them sometimes haha. 

3. What's in your camera bag? 

My camera body I use is a Pentax K-5 IIs. Right now I only have two lenses, a 50mm and 70mm. I use them both about equally.

And since everyone asks me why I shoot Pentax, here are some reasons:

-They are built tough and weather resistant. You can dump sand on them and rinse them off in water and they will be fine. (Not that I'd really recommend that).
-They make awesome lenses.
-They fit in my small hands well and I like the functionality.
-They are priced lower than Canon & Nikon for the most part, but perform very well.

4. What is your dream shoot? 

I don't know that I really have an ultimate dream project. I would like to have the money to do some really big & amazing sets or travel to some amazing castle like locations to do shoots.

5.  What is the biggest challenge you face a s a photographer? 

My biggest challenge is that I'm not naturally a creative person. I am more left brained and thus I tend to take things quite literally. I have to work hard at finding and creating symbolism and making things more artistic rather than technical. I do find it a fun challenge to try and bring out the artistic side in me. But it is a challenge none the less.

6. If I had $500 dollars to spend on photography...

...then I should spend it on a wider angle lens. 
I wish I could spend it on traveling to a fun place to do a shoot. But I would probably actually save it for the new Pentax full frame camera that's coming out soon that I really really really want! (wipes drool from chin)

7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the beginning of your journey? 

There are lots of things I wish I was told at the beginning of my journey. To be honest, being a professional photographer was kind of an accident I didn't plan on. I thought I would just be a hobbyist. But, sticking with the theme I chose and something that applies to pros, amateurs, and hobbyists, I would say to just be yourself. Don't try to do what other photographers are doing. It's great to appreciate others' work and even be inspired by it. But do your own thing. People will appreciate seeing the world from your point of view. In fact, that's what makes photography so great, we get to see the world from so many points of view! You will be much happier with your work when you stay true to yourself. It's hard to be great & inspiring when you're just copying someone else.

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