Q "What advice would I give a new photographer?"
Well, I'd like to pass along the best advice I ever received when I was just starting out. The source was John Loengard, a brilliant photographer and author, who was the picture editor for Life Magazine. I had just shown him my nascent portfolio, and he'd said some nice things. But I was confused. Should I shoot pictures like the ones I saw in magazines and ads, or should I shoot some ideas I had in my head, or what? I just wanted to be a success; I wanted my pictures to be in the magazines and ads. He said, "Well, if you shoot pictures like the ones you see, you'll probably do just fine. You'll get work, and get busy, and have a good career, and in ten years I won't know which work is yours." He paused, and raised his exceptionally bushy eyebrows. "But if you shoot what you can't help but shoot, well, those will be your best pictures, because they come naturally to you. And people will respond to them because they're your best pictures, and hire you to shoot more of them. And since you can't help but shoot 'em anyway, they'll come real easily and you won't have to second-guess your clients, and you'll produce more of your best work, and so on. This process will repeat itself, and in ten years, you'll see in hindsight that you will have developed a style. And I'll be able to identify which pictures are yours."