In this series of blog posts we are introducing people who are speaking at and attending Inspire 2014. Today we’d like to introduce you to Ned Jackson of Ned Jackson Photography who will be leading a session Tuesday afternoon called Taking the Editorial Approach to Weddings
One of the most profound changes I made in my early career was to switch formats and simplify things significantly. I felt like I hadn’t really found my voice as a photographer yet. Like many photographers, I was an adequate mimic of styles I admired, but as we all know there is no substitute for originality. Knowing I need to make a dramatic change, I sold a few bits of gear on eBay and used the money to throw myself headfirst into the square format of the Hasselblad. The change was profound for me. One lens and the square. As a result of the stripped down rig and new format I was forced to reassess what made a truly successful image. As I grew and evolved with the format I finally started to find my voice.
Sometimes to find out who you really are as a photographer, you have to strip down to the most basic elements. We live in an exciting time in photography where new digital chips allow us to capture images that would have been all but unthinkable in the film days. Companies continue to come out with lighter and more powerful lighting options, incredible lighting modifiers, faster and sharper lenses, actions that add a fade everything and filters that fake the look of film. While I love these new advances, unfortunately you can reach a point where these tools stand in the way of finding your own style rather than helping to shape it.
I’ve since shifted away from the Hasselblad for most of my wedding and commercial work, and to be honest I don’t shoot it enough. I recently purchased a Nikon Df and have fixed a 35mm on permanently as a way to force myself to shoot more often and think a little more simple. It’s no square, but at least the camera goes everywhere with me. It’s been a great way to refocus my energies on capturing moments and keeping a my creative voice alive.
I encourage everyone to take a step back to figure out what’s the true voice behind their images. Will a client be able to recognize your work as your own, or will it blend in to the latest trends?
Here’s some of the images from the Hasselblad from back in the day: