Thursday, December 10, 2015

Meet This Week's Judge: Candace Castor!

Candace of Candace Castor Photography wants to see your silly side this week. Read her reflections on her journey as a photographer, and enjoy her work below!

1. Tell us about yourself... 

Hello! I have found myself with many new titles lately. I am a wife, a mom, a student, and a photographer. Those are the most important ones so we will leave it at that. I am originally from Utah but I have been living in the wonderful and beautiful Okinawa Japan for 6 years. My husband is in the Air Force, we have 3 monsters - a 9 yr old daughter and 5 yr old twin boys. I am a full time student at The Academy of Art University based out of San Francisco CA were I am earning my MFA in Photography. I have always loved taking pictures, looking at pictures, ... buying pictures; it wasnt until I moved to Okinawa that I had the time and means to really focus on learning and mastering the art. I was half way through my BA in a completely unrelated field when I threw down the towel and said this isnt for me. Im not a quitter so I did finish my degree, I also really dislike wasting money which was another reason I finished. That is when I started really trying to learn and use the Nikon D90 I had bought a few months prior. By the time I graduated I was able to apply to grad school with a portfolio and determination to further this newly uncovered passion. I still remember how amazing I felt when I received my acceptance letter, it honestly is what keeps me pushing though even during the times I felt like giving up. I chose to get a MFA in Photography for ME. No one else, not a job, not validation, (while a job would be nice!) I wanted it for ME. I wanted to earn something that made me happy just because. I am now half way done and it seriously was the best decision I could have made. 

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

My kids, cliche right? Really, my kids and myself. The amount of personal growth I have had in the last 5 years is School aided a lot in that because it forced me to dig deep to find myself, at the time I didnt like it, but I sure do appreciate it now. I wanted to take pretty pictures but I have now learned how to create meaningful images and that is what keeps me going. Pretty pictures are nice to look at but meaningful images makes you feel something which is magical. Knowing that the images I create will literally last forever (if printed!! SO PRINT!) and can be passed down generation to generation is amazing. I get the craziest high looking at old photographs of grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Photography is crack and I'm addicted. :P 

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

Nikon D750,  Sigma Art 35, 24-70, and Sigma 15mm Fisheye.  The 750 obviously and the 35 are used 99% of the time. It is the dreamiest combination ever! Before I purchased the 35, the 24-70 was my go to. 
I also own a D610, D90, 70-300, 135mm, and the lensbaby will a few different optics.  The 70-300 is the least used piece of gear I have and I only have it for the rare occasion I need a ridiculous zoom which is about one time a year. 

4. What’s your dream project or shoot? 

Honestly, I have no clue! I just want a beautiful location, dreamy light, and a subject(s) that is wiling to do whatever I ask of them. Going to a session and asking what they had in mind and them replaying "Whatever you feel is best, we trust you" makes me melt in my shoes every. single. time!

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

Trying to please everyone else and not staying true to myself. I have gotten better at this lately, I shoot for me. No matter who hires me I shoot true to myself. They hired me for my style and artistic eye so why not give it to them?

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

ebooks that I seem to collect and hardly have time to read. 
How do you wish you could spend it? I should save it.
How would you really spend it? On coffee and food. I have a weakness! Fried rice gets me every time.

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

Be true to yourself, shoot for yourself, and do not be afraid to open up and be present in your images. I do not mean that literally by taking selfies, I mean be IN your images, your thoughts, your passion, drive, emotion, etc. Create every image with intention and make it mean something.

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