I run a website and Facebook group called Art of the Blur. AotB is dedicated to celebrating the unseen, the unheard, the unusual and the everyday ordinariness that we all seem to overlook as we move throughout our lives. Every so often, we talk to a member of the group and try to see what makes them tick – or rather, what makes them click.
Read on to see what makes Charles tick. Be sure to follow his work by clicking through to his website and social media spaces. Thanks for your input Charles.
I grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY with my parents, two brothers, and my sister. I met my wife Korinne, of thirty-eight years, in high school and have one son, Jason, who is a sought-after tattoo artist in New York. We have one cat, Sophia, who, of course, runs the house.
I was employed as an electrician for over 30 yrs. After working thirteen years for a fire alarm and security company, I decided it was time for a life change and pursue my passion. I knew that if I didn’t have some form of formal training, I would never become the photographer I wanted to be. Therefore, I enrolled in the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Massachusettes. Hallmark gave me the knowledge and the tools to become the photographer I am today and the beginning of a new career. I was taught all the rules. Now I go out and break them.
We currently and forever live in Mount Dora, located in Central Florida where I am doing business as Charles Dean Photography. We have been here for almost three years and although the business is fairly new, it is finally beginning to come into its own.
I guess I’ve always had an interest in photography, riding around on my bike as a child, taking pictures with a little plastic camera. My wife Korinne gave me my first “real” film camera around 1998 and it immediately became my new hobby.
“When I photographed a friend for a portrait, I knew I was hooked”
Although, back then I was working with two work lights attached to a ladder. You use what you have. Portraits became my passion, especially dramatic portraiture. Although I work in most genres of photography, dramatically lit, emotional portraits created in the studio, is my passion by far and satisfies my creative side. I love the dramatic, moody lighting that I can create with a patient, willing model. If you haven’t noticed, I prefer black and white images.
Canon equipment is my brand of choice. Since I had their lenses from the early years, there was no sense in changing brands and reinvesting in additional kit. Canon was also the equipment that we trained with at Hallmark.
Equipment is often times overrated. There is always some new gadget, lens or camera on the market. I have my basic equipment to serve the needs of my clients. If I need anything really high end or something I wouldn’t normally use, I rent the equipment.
We were told in school that we would develop our own styles. I don’t know if I have a particular style as I’m always striving to do something different. I guess who I am, my past experiences and my emotions are the things that have influenced and drive my photography. Looking at other peoples’ work, both artwork and photography often inspire me to try something different and to work to bring my work to another level.
I use Adobe Creative Suite for my editing which includes camera raw, Photoshop, and Lightroom. Editing is second to a well-lit, well-composed photo. If the highlights and shadows are not there, there will be no way to bring it back in any program. Editing is like putting the icing on the cake.
My advice to those budding photographers is to start simple. Equipment does not make a photographer. The photographer creates a photograph, not the camera. Photography can become expensive with a decent camera, lighting, computers and editing software. Don’t get caught up with gadgets. Take whatever on-line courses that are available. Youtube is an invaluable resource for learning editing techniques.
If you can afford it, I highly recommend attending a photography school. Professional, hands-on instruction is the best way to advance your technique and knowledge. I would also recommend mentoring with an established photographer.
Collaboration with other photographers is a great way to seek advise, techniques, and support. I believe that artistic people are wired just a little bit differently than most. For me, I tend to notice the little things that most people miss. I notice light and shadows, lines and curves, and I like to people watch. I like to watch their expressions, the emotions that fly across their faces when they think no one is watching.
I have a tendency to create a photograph in my mind when I come across something or someone that I find interesting.
My long-term goal is to have a small studio of my own where I can create the dramatic portraits that drive me. I came across a quote years ago from a photographer who’s’ name I can’t remember.
“With every photograph I take, a little piece of me dies.”
Thanks for sharing with us Charles. If anyone else would like to guest post on my site, feel free to contact me here. If you’d like to ask Charles something or just leave a comment, you can do so below.
I specialise in shooting public and private events, residential and commercial architecture, and corporate and personal portfolios, as well as holding landscape workshops and offering photography tuition. Get in touch and let’s create something great together.