THROUGH MY LENS
by Penelope Bent-Lippincott
I have been photographing women professionally all of my adult life. This year marks my Fortieth year in this industry; and needless to say, I am so very grateful for all the amazing women that I have shared this exciting experience with, and for all that I have learned.
My camera lens has been a very intimate and private doorway into the lives and the emotions of the women I have photographed; and I thank them all for trusting in this most intimate and creative process.
I began shooting in the late seventies and early eighties as a Boudoir Photographer and then on to Fashion as the years passed. Being one of the very few female shooters at the time allowed for a much more honest narrative and collaboration with my clients.
Through those early years, I learned how to angle and adjust my subject for that "Perfect Picture;" but more then that, I learned "Visual Design." I also learned about a woman's spirit, illusion, and light.
I learned the Art of a Woman's Individual Style and how her Style Transitions with age.
Here is what I learned Through My Lens.
Times are always changing and the real question we must ask ourselves is are we keeping up with the evolution of life and its experiences or are we set in our ways and happy with the way things have always been?
Any time you spend a large part of your life in a given field of endeavor, over time you are afforded a bird’s eye view of change. Interestingly enough, I jumped into the field of photography at the fresh age of twenty-seven and after forty years in the industry I can confirm there has been much CHANGE, but not only change in the Fashion and Photography industries, but great change in myself and what I see through my lens today.
Originally, I believe I've mentioned this, I went to school to become a Nurse. I had wanted to become a Nurse from the beginning of time and can still remember so clearly, when I was seven. I received my first Doctor/Nurse Play Set. It was equipped with even the little cart I could roll through my bedroom dispensing meds to all of my patients (my dolls and stuffed animals,) using my stethoscope with great care and bandaging the wounded if need be—all the while sharing comfort and hope to those in need.
How I ended up in the Fashion and Photography business is a story for
another day; however, my need and desire to help others never waivered, yet keeping up with a trend-based changing industry was not always an easy task.
After years of shooting a film camera the thought of moving into the digital world was daunting, and I must say I dragged my feet right up until 2005. Now it's so hard to believe I waited so long, and why? Now that's the real question!
Because I was scared, really scared! I was really good at what I did, I had worked hard to develop my style and product, I had a system that worked, I knew my camera so well I could actually hear if there was a problem or feel the ever slight difference in a mechanism that would signal an issue...I really DID NOT WANT TO CHANGE. I liked it just THE WAY IT WAS! And most importantly, I was afraid to learn something new. But, I also knew how necessary it was for me to make these changes, to learn these new ways. I knew deep down I had to evolve and change with the times, my livelihood was at stake!
But what if your livelihood is not at risk. What can help you to step out and investigate all the New that is in our world today?
Here are a few ideas based on my own experience:
1. It's okay to be scared.
I was terrified to change something I was so comfortable with—it's okay! Being scared is not always a bad thing. Finally, I realized I couldn't afford to be scared. Maybe your finale will be losing a connection with your kids. Remember everyone has a finale—the last straw, the final push for change.
2. Take baby steps.
Start with investigation and research. This was a really helpful beginning. I actually bought my first digital camera at a pawn shop! No kidding! It was a great way for me to discover and learn without making a huge financial mistake. It also helped with my comfort zone, just baby steps.
3. Take a class.
Hang with others on your same path of discovery. Try an online class. Maybe consider resources at your local community college or even join a blogging group discussing your New interest.
As our IT Director, Courtney Anderson says, “Don't stay in the land of prep." Great advice!
Step out and try the New. If all else fails just "DO IT" be brave; if I can, you can!