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Mentors

I've been meaning to start my blog for several months now, but time has slipped away. You would think being semi-retired that would be impossible. I've named this page "musings" because that's what my blog will contain. I see no reason to replicate the excellent photographic advice provided by a host of people way more talented than me.


So today, in my first post, I wanted to touch on the subject of mentors. I am a big believer in cultivating mentors in all walks of life. All of us can use at least one, although for those of you who follow TED talks there is a theory that we need five. See https://ideas.ted.com/the-5-types-of-mentors-you-need-in-your-life/ However many you decide on they can play an invaluable role in both your professional and personal life.


I was extremely fortunate that earlier on in my own professional career I had a CEO who took interest in me. We have remained friends for the past 25 years. He was also the very first individual to sign up for my blog. So John you are the inspiration for writing this piece.


As I got ready to retire one goal I set for myself was to get back involved in photography, a hobby I had abandoned after college. Given the technological changes that occurred in this medium from back in 1978 I knew I needed to cultivate some new mentors. They would hopefully provide both guidance and inspiration as I began to reacquaint myself with the camera.


The earliest of this group was Alister Benn (see my links page for the web sites of all the photographers named here). I had stumbled across one of Alister's early books and had loved his work. So I took it upon myself to write him inquiring on what camera he used and why. Imagine my surprise when I received back a 3 page response with a wealth of information. I made a promise to myself that I would take one of his workshops as soon as I had the means. I have had the pleasure with shooting with Alister on two occasions and enjoyed his company immensely.


One of his early pieces of advice to was decide what my personal style would be. I have always loved B&W images and gravitated to the darker side of the spectrum. This interest led me to the next two names on my list - Cole Thompson and Gary Wagner. Cole had just finished his "melting giants" series which inspired me. Cole provided a critical piece of advice - make images that you like regardless of what the critics or judges may say.


Having loved the ocean I knew it would play a role in my photography. I saw Gary Wagner's images of the north coast of California and loved his work. Gary helped me begin to understand the nuances of printing especially when it came to paper selection for B&W. He has also acted as a sounding board on numerous occasions.


Finally, when we retired to South Carolina I was introduced to Kevin Holiday. I was amazed by his use of light in his work. He was kind enough to tutor me through his post processing technique and how he creates the art he does. He introduced me to the art of long exposure photography and encouraged me to begin to exhibit my work.


So to Alister, Cole, Gary and Kevin, thanks for being willing to help out a new photographer. Because of you I enjoy making images immensely and am always working to be a better photographer. I hope I can pay forward some of the guidance and insight you all have provided me.


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