In 2015 I had the great fortune to be able to take a photography workshop in Montalivet, France with an American photographer: Jock Sturges.
It changed my life.
Prior to the workshop I’d make landscapes when I’d travel, but I had little knowledge or training in photography, despite having taken high school and college classes when film and darkrooms were still a thing (or should I say THE thing, since digital work was still in its infancy). He told me I was a competent landscape photographer and now I needed to add the figure. At the end of the too short week he told me that he’d never seen a photographer progress as quickly in such a short period of time.
When I came home I couldn’t just sit on that and do nothing, so I started photographing anyone who’d say yes (or say “No, but I have children.”) It has given me a creative and social outlet I can share quickly and easily (novels took too long and only like 3 people have read them) and a sense of self and confidence I’d never had before. I am forever grateful.
I have all his books, but today I selected “Fanny,” a collection of his work from 1990 to 2012 that follows his goddaughter from about age 4. For me the book not only shows the quality of his work, but also summarizes some of his philosophy and approach. The book shows the slow progression of Fanny maturing, but also the ongoing relationship; the best photos come from people that you like and who like you; it’s a relationship, not a job. He has photographed many families over the years and you can feel the connection he has with these people.
Fanny now has a child of her own and the cycle continues.