Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Chelsea Furlong!

This week, Chelsea of Chelsea Lyn Photohas asked to see your life in monochrome. Please enjoy learning about her and her beautiful work!

1. Tell us about yourself...
Hey, friends! I’m Chelsea Furlong from Chelsea Lyn Photography.  I grew up in a teeny, tiny town in Vermont, and now live in Norfolk, Virginia with my husband, two very active little boys, and one very lazy American bulldog named Zeppelin.  When I’m not behind the lens, I’m usually chasing my boys around with a giant cup of Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, listening to my latest favorite song too loudly, binge watching foodie documentaries on Netflix, or enjoying the outdoors.

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?
My children and love of traveling first sparked my photography passion.  I received my first DSLR as a gift when I was living in Germany with my husband and we were expecting our first baby.  Between all of the new places and cultures we explored all over Europe and capturing every second of our new baby’s life, it seemed like I was always behind the lens and I became addicted very quickly!  What fuels my passion now is my children and an unquenchable thirst for learning something new.  Every time I pick up my camera, I have a chance to grow as an artist and create something even more beautiful than the last time.  I love that about photography.

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?
My equipment is pretty basic and always has been!  I shoot with a Nikon D610 and own three lenses.  I have Nikon 50mm and 85mm 1.8 lenses, and a Sigma ART 35mm 1.4.  I don’t take that Sigma off of my camera for anything except outdoor portrait sessions, when I use the 85mm.  My poor 50mm doesn’t get much action now that I have the magical Sigma ART lens!  Inside my bag, you’ll also find a speedlight, a diaper and some baby wipes (my kids are almost always with me!), and various materials I’m experimenting with at any given time.  Right now that includes bubble wrap and other plastic packing materials, a few plastic sandwich bags, the ever popular copper pipe, and glass paperweight my kids just dig out of an old box that’s been working great as a prism!

 4. What’s your dream project or shoot?
I’ve never really considered this question before, but I think my dream project would just be to travel all over the world and document my family exploring, as well as the beautiful landscapes, people, cultures, and foods our incredible planet has to offer.

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?
Myself!  Like so many other photographers, I’m my own worst critic.  Some days I love what I’m creating, and others I feel like I should just close up my camera bag and never open it again! This always happens when I find I’m slipping into the dangerous hole of comparison.  When I start comparing myself to other artists (which is a terrible thing to do), I start to feel like my work isn’t as valuable.  However, when I interact with other artists and open myself up to enjoying the beauty of their works without comparison, I always find that my own work suddenly improves greatly.  I truly believe that community over comparison is the key to loving yourself as well as your work.

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography... 
How should you spend it? 
How do you wish you could spend it? 
How would you really spend it? 

If I had $500, I should spend it on some more storage, like external hard drives, or a workshop.  I’ll be honest…the second and third parts of that question would probably have the same answer.  I would wish to spend it on new equipment of course! And then I probably would.  I’ve been wanting to get a Lensbaby and/or a lens wider than my 35mm, as well as one of those fun Dicapacs you can use underwater.  I’d likely use the money toward those items. 

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey? 

I think the one thing I wish someone had told me was just to reach out to other photographers.  It took me quite a long time to just reach out and ask other photographers for a little help here and there, or send someone a message just to tell them I loved their work and they inspired me.  I was terrified that no one would want to help me, and that everyone would be extremely competitive.  But they’re not.  I’ve met the most incredible people throughout this journey who have helped me, inspired me, lifted me up along the way, answered my questions, and been there to cheer me on.  They are all STILL cheering me on.  I’ve found that we all have the same fears and we all get caught up in the terrible cycle of comparison once in while, no matter how skilled or how talented we are.  We’re all the same.  And we need inspiration from others when we’re in a rut, help when we don’t know how to do something, and a never ending cheering section in order to succeed.  If there’s someone you really admire, just reach out to them.  Maybe they’ll surprise you and become your biggest fan.   

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