Thursday, November 3, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Debra Smith!

This week, Debra of Pixelus Moments asks you to share your interpretation of compassion. She's shared some of her beautiful work, and some of her thought too - enjoy!

1. Tell us about yourself...

 I’m just an ordinary wife and mother of three kids. I live in a small town in West Virginia, USA. I work part-time for the local senior center. I practice photography as a hobby. Occasionally I do a job for pay. Mostly senior sessions or kids portraits for friends. A lot of my photography is fine-art. That’s really where my passion lies. I don’t get much enjoyment from trying to find a way to make someone’s child smile. I definitely have a whole new level of respect for photographers who specialize in child photography. There’s not much else to say about myself. I know, what a bore! But that’s me.

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

I don’t know. I have always loved looking at photographs. I never could work a film camera. I used to get so frustrated trying to load and unload film that on one occasion I literally threw a camera on the floor and shattered it because I couldn’t get the film out. I got an instamatic and fell instantly in love. The sheets were so expensive that I hardly ever got to use it. So you can imagine how grateful I am that photography is mostly digital now. I can’t say what fuels it. I just know that having the camera in my hand makes me feel like I have a purpose. It doesn’t give me purpose but it makes me feel like I have a purpose. If that makes sense.

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

I currently have a Nikon d5200 and mostly use my Nikkor 50mm lens. I love my Lensbaby Sweet 35 and 50 but I don’t use them as often as I’d like.

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

I don’t have a dream project or shoot but right now I can say I would love to do an “around the world in 80 days” type of photography project.

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

My biggest challenge (well, challenges) has been with finances and self-worth. I have been waiting for 5 years to go full-frame but just never have the money to do it. I know that if I really tried I may be able to acquire the money to purchase what I need but I can’t see my work as all that valuable. So any time we do just happen to have a little extra cash, I find a reason not to buy. The response is always the same - “It’s of no good use to me. It’s not like I can make any money with it.” It’s a rather vicious cycle. When I feel motivated and inspired, there’s no support. By the time there’s support, I’m no longer motivated or inspired.

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography...
How should you spend it?

If I had $500 to spend only on photography...?!! If I was expected to spend it right away, I would purchase the Lensbaby Velvet 56.

How do you wish you could spend it?

If I had my wish, I would live in this magical land of make-believe where Nikon distributors would see my work and say, “Wow! She’s really good! Let’s help her out with a new D810.” Then I could use the $500 to go toward a good portrait lens. But this is the real world so I would save the $500 for my dream camera.

How would you really spend it?

Most likely use it to fix my car. See, I told you. I’m such a bore.

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

No. I wouldn’t have listened anyway. I believe no one person’s life is exactly like someone else’s and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work the same way for another. While I do value the wisdom gained from another's experiences, I like to learn things on my own. I want to be surprised in life.

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