Thursday, June 2, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Elizabeth Willson

This week, Elizabeth of It's Still Life Photography by Elizabeth Willson wants to know what's "up ahead". Enjoy her photos and interview while you figure that out!

1. Tell us about yourself...
Although online for some reason I chose, "Elizabeth", please call me, "Liz" (or Lizzy if you are feeling crazy) :) I’m a faith-filled wife and momma of 4 enjoying small-town life in South-Central PA. Occupational therapist by trade, I employ the principles of seeing the gifts and goals of each to facilitate health and well-being. I also am trained to view life holistically – all of the elements that create an individual: mind, body, emotions, environment, and social connections. In photography I aim to provide intriguing images that capture life in the moment, the blessings of God’s wonderful creation, the light and life He brings, the beauty and joy. I enjoy making connections: new friends, new ideas, new skills and experiences within the context of hometown comfort.  I hold on to hope of God’s promises and look to His amazing plan through the trials and blessings.

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

Light, always light. 

This journey began in high school with my dad’s 35mm Canon Rebel taking snapshots for the yearbook. In college I carried my point-and-shoot around snapping dorm life, spring break trips with Habitat for Humanity, and ventures in Baltimore. My graduation gift: my very own Canon Rebel SLR (yes, with actual film!). Set on “auto” mode I went about documenting stages of life: proposal, new car, first apartment, family birthdays…Fast forward to the birth of my second child. I finally accepted the nudge from friends and family to take my photography to the next level. I gradually broadened my learning, expanded my editing skills, upgraded my camera bodies, switched to “manual” and never looked back. After considering the business side of photography, and having some wonderful experiences there, I’ve peacefully settled into “hobbyist” status taking great joy in the moments that make life rich.

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?
My “go-to” setup is my Canon 5D MarkIII with the Canon 24-70 2.8L. It provides me the versatility and wide angle for capturing the dailyness of life. I use my Lensbaby Velvet 56 to “switch up” my view, give a unique feel to an image, or to capture macro. I have a 50mm 1.8 that I basically only use to free-lens (a couple times per month when I’m feeling a little wild). :) 

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?
As primarily a hobbyist currently immersed in a Project 366, my day-to-day life tends to consume my art. However, a girl’s gotta dream and mine would be to do a documentary session (or sessions! We are dreaming here! :) ) of a family (maybe even my family!) living/working/exploring a farm or property with huge windows, muddy chores, flowing dresses/adorable suspenders, a soft breeze, splashing creek, yummy golden backlighting, oodles of connection, and some sweet sun flare. <3

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?
Presently, my biggest challenge as a photographer is discerning my place, my voice, my vision. Since beginning my 366 I’ve felt the freedom of shedding the expectations of others and embracing the gift of capturing the beauty, wonder, and connection in God’s creation: from breakfast in our PJs, to the minute features of a flower, from exploring our nearby forest to adventuring in our backyard after school. So many voices swirl: our family, friends, Facebook… I’m working through discerning the Truth and choosing thanksgiving regardless of appreciation or recognition.

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography...
How should you spend it? A new Mac. I’m completely filling up and maxing out this one. :)
How do you wish you could spend it? Sigma 35mm Art
How would you really spend it? Mentoring, Workshops, Professionals providing me feedback to give my photography and heart a sense of increased purpose and meaning and beauty.

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?
Shoot from your heart. Always. Create and develop your unique vision. Capture and cherish the details. Share your work and let it shine despite the number of “likes” or feedback you receive. For, if your image touches one life, it has made an impact – even if that life is your own. Place your soul into your art. For, capturing the moment in time, even if just for YOU, will evoke emotion and gratefulness for generations. Your photography is a gift: give thanks and spread the joy! (whoops, ok, that was more like 6 things :) )

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