Inspire Speaker: Ned Jackson

In this series of blog posts we are introducing the faculty at Inspire 2015. Today we’d like to introduce you to Ned Jackson who will be leading a session that we can all learn from The Wedding from Hell  Ned Jackson

I think everyone knows that feeling you get deep down when you hit that shutter and you know you made a killer image.  It’s that rush and thrill that keeps you going and pushes you to continually improve and evolve as a photographer.  However, if you’ve been at this for a while, you probably also know this feeling becomes more and more elusive as your volume increases.  In 2014 alone, I will have taken well over 140,000 images.  Personally, I find it gets harder to see things in a new way and from a fresh perspective and it’s also easy to lose sight of the meaning and purpose behind our images.

To try to shake things up, I decided to take on a 365 project (otherwise known as a photo-a-day) this year.  While certainly not a new concept, it was particularly terrifying for me because I often find that when I’m done photographing an event, the last thing I want to do is pick up a camera during those “off” moments where I can relax and unwind a bit.  I’d decided that, like the cobbler’s children who have no shoes, I was neglecting my own family when it came to recording our lives in a meaningful way.  While I can attest that not every day is a winner, there are a few things I’ve learned during the first 322 days.  I think these ideas can be applied to a career in photography and have helped me regain my perspective on why I do what I do.

1)  Just keep your head down and shoot.  Some of my favorite images I’ve taken this year - ones that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life - were only created because I had to make a picture!  Having “burdened” myself with this project forced me to shoot during times where I’d simply be a participant or, frankly, doing nothing!  A self portrait with 103.6 degree fever, a trip to the hospital for your 6th-month-old or just a quiet moment at bedtime become a permanent record of what will no doubt be some of the most wonderful years of my life.  While I don’t always feel like taking pictures, I can now see the value in what I’m doing.  Remember, you can’t make an image if your eye isn’t in the shutter.

2)  Not every photograph is going to be a winner, but a few of them will be worth their weight in gold.

3)  What I’m doing for my family is what we do every weekend for the families and couples we photograph.  We’re preserving memories that will be passed down for generations.  And while it’s easy for us to lose sight of this in the volume that comes with 11 years of work, all is takes is a handful of images of your own family to make you realize how precious these memories are to our clients.

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