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The Next Step into Becoming a Photographer

This is a very personal story of my transition from a novice to an amateur photographer. I hope this can be somewhat inspirational for at least some people out there getting into analog photography for the first time, or photography in general.

I decided to take photography a bit more seriously, graduating from digital snapshots not too long ago. As one can easily tell, my dominating medium these days is analogue. I am not against digital by any means—it’s just not for me!

Last summer, I made a monumental decision to spend a few months in New York City. Like many choices I have made in my life, this was also rather sudden and random, but it worked! One thing I can tell you about NYC is that it’s probably the best place to go for people into liberal arts. Well, some of my companions in this extended trip were my collection of three Polaroid cameras, a Holga 135BC, a Konica 35mm rangefinder, and my favorite Pentax MV1.

But let’s face the fact. Having a camera never made anyone into a good photographer (except some I guess). I needed direction, some guidance, a bit of mentoring. So I started looking for assistant-ship/internships on Craigslist. Funny as it is, there were no end to such opportunities on Craigslist. The challenge was to find the right person, someone whose photography I liked, someone I could get along with and could actually learn from. Luck was on my side and I found Tina Schula.

Tina is a Vienna-born, New York City-based analog photographer shooting mostly using her Mamiya RZ67 these days. The moment I saw her work, I knew I had to contact her. I mean, there are so many photographers out there, but every one of them has their own style, and I felt like I had finally found the one whose photos were synonymous to what I wanted to achieve with my photography.

I had the opportunity to assist Tina on a few of her photoshoots, where I helped her with setting up lighting equipment, holding the light meter, or even the camera once in a while, and I cannot even begin to tell you how much this had helped me shape my own style. Tina even let me borrow one of her medium format cameras (Pentax 6×7) to try out, and if I may be allowed to be bold enough, I would say my work so far has been greatly influenced by Tina’s style.

Well this was just the beginning. I tried my best to find people I could photograph. Craigslist helped a lot on that account, and there were also some of my friends who let me shoot them. I would say the more one practices the better one gets. I am still far, far away from being what I would like to become, but I definitely had a great start into the next step.

written by maliha

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