Filson x Magnum Photo Contest
I love Filson. I fell in love with their quality outdoor products when I was working at Badowers. I have written/photographed a few blog posts for them about my fly-fishing adventures. I love their aesthetic and the lifestyle they market with their brand. For Spring/Summer 2014, Filson enlisted Magnum Photos to help them design a line of camera bags. As promotion for this line, Filson and Magnum had a outdoor photography contest. I entered the first 5 images below. I was one of 3 contestants who won 1st place: a flight to NYC, a sweet hotel, and a masterclass with three current Magnum Photos photographers: Jim Goldberg, Mark Power, and Alec Soth. I was totally blown away by this honor.
WHAT I LEARNED
The Masterclass was a portfolio critic but I have shot primarily weddings (which I don’t believe is what they were looking for) so I put together an outdoor photography portfolio. Being in the presence of one of the great Magnum photographers is a little unnerving, especially showing him what I do on the side (outdoor work) but Mark Power was very kind. He challenged me to make every shot tell a story. To use my images to move people and that has stuck with me.
I came to the realization that in my work I love and strive for ‘beauty.’ I try to sanitize everything I shoot, show the best side. I am constantly trying to make an image beautiful, even at the expense of the story. I think making images ‘beautiful’ is compatible with wedding photography but I need to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and shoot things I don’t naturally gravitate towards. Maybe shoot some of the grittier details or shoot in harsher light or with darker shadows. My recent project #makedesmoines is my attempt to develop my abilities to shoot more honest portraits in whatever spaces are given to me.
So as it stands today, I am a full time photographer, shooting primarily weddings but I am exploring some other niche areas of photography. Some salon work, some senior photos, some architectural work and a little outdoor work. I am continuing to push myself to be a better photographer. I want to take photographs that are memorable, cherished, and motivating. I want to use photography to tell the larger stories and even the greatest story ever told though I am still working out how to better do that. I am not sure fully where this will lead but I am beginning down this road. Wish me luck!