Learning More Than Just Lighting

It’s funny how inspiration strikes in the most unlikely places.

When I walked into the Creative Live course, The Lighting Challenge: Natural vs. Studio, I expected to learn how to use Studio lighting in a way that wasn’t harsh or difficult. The reason I have stayed away from studio lighting all this time is that I have never really liked the way it looks. Natural light has always been my preference for it’s ability to really help a subject shine.

During the course, I went through an internal roller-coaster. I was excited to be in the same room as two of the photographers I admire most, and giddy to be surrounded by talented classmates. Then, I started to see how these industry experts are really just not afraid to experiment and play with light.

Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze are just like everyone else. But, they have made choices that help them shine. Their work is full of beauty and passion for capturing light. I left the class inspired…

CL_Light_HolliMargell 6
Our lovely Co-Host and the Producer.
CL_Light_HolliMargell 7
Sue working her magic with natural light.
CL_Light_HolliMargell 9
Using “Mac Gyver” lighting for a Hollywood shoot.
CL_Light_HolliMargell 13
The best part of sitting in the front row of class wast this perspective!
CL_Light_HolliMargell 14
Felix and Sue taught the course together, and here they are listening to comments from the online students.
CL_Light_HolliMargell 18
My fan-girl pose.
Group photo: students, instructors, behind the scenes crew.
Group photo: students, instructors, behind the scenes crew.

When I came home at the end of the class, I could not wait to play with studio light. All the following day, I was floating with creative excitement. Then, late last night, I was dropped back down into my life and the struggle that lives in our neighborhood. You see, we have a neighborhood email group. There is an anonymous person who has been posting phone-photos that complain about how broken our neighborhood is and is using them to point fingers.

And that’s when the internal light bulb went on inside of me. No matter where you are in life, your age, address or job, you have the power to choose what you focus on with your thoughts and actions. You can choose to see the dark, ugliness, and soon that is all that you will see. Or, you can choose to see the light, the beauty and the progress.

For me personally, I have sat and looked at my work with a very critical eye. I have allowed myself to feel stuck because I don’t have a studio or I’m not making a living with photography. But, no more. I am going to focus on the light. To do that, I am re-launching my Cause, and renaming it, “Seattle Shines.”

Nathan Vass is a fellow Seattle photographer, and working with him, we will now not only focus on capturing the landscape of neglected Seattle neighborhoods, but the people who are shining a light and making a difference.

I am too practical to not realize that this won’t stop people from littering, breaking into cars and vandalizing the community garden shed, but it’s something I can do to help inspire change and celebrate the people who are doing it.

. . .

Stepping off of my soap-box now, and thank you for listening.