Why everyone should have a photography mentor

We all look at photographs, photography, pictures everyday.  You open a magazine, watch TV, or go online, and without fail you either look at, see, or read a picture.  Some of us wonder who the photographer is, and how they got that shot.

Photography is also one of those professions where it doesn’t matter what your sex is, nor your age to much extent.  It’s really about capturing the moment.

What holds true about getting better, is that you have to shoot a lot of pictures.  And many professional photographers will tell you that what separates the amateur from the pro is about a million shots taken from your camera.

Now most people couldn’t tell you who any one photographer is, but there are names in the industry that many people have heard of, like; Ansel Adams – for his famous black-and-white landscape images, or Annie Leibovitz for her celebrity photos and portraits; and there’s even Seattle’s own Art Wolfe – wildlife and everything fine art.

So, what about all those other photographers who are just as technically good or even better in many cases?  What about the photographer who is just coming up in the world of photography and wanting to learn?  Is it possible to meet with any of these great names in photography?  Not if they’re not living, or if you don’t have a fortune of money to spend meeting them, even if it’s possible to do that.

A lot of affordable classes and courses are now being taught by professionals who are truly leaders in the cutting edge of the new age of digital photography.  Some specialize in post production, while others remain true to the essence of photography itself; the camera.

It’s also not always necessary to go far to find a leader or a mentor in the field.  It can be just about anyone with a little more or a lot more knowledge than what you have.

For me, my mentor is a local professional who has traveled the world and shot just about everything, and everyone. And now, he’s becoming a leader in the new realm of hdslr movie making.  His name is Ric Kasnoff.

I met Ric through an ad on CL when he was selling some equipment, and we fast became what I’d consider to be friends. But, he’s more than that, he’s my mentor, and inspiration.  What I have found to be the best part about Ric, is that he’s a no BS kind of guy.  He’ll tell it to you like he see’s it.  And he can see past a lot and be objective without being subjective, which I feel in photography is important when you’re just starting out.  But, the end result of a photograph is more subjective than objective is what I have come to understand.

His credentials are far and wide, with more than 35 years of professional experience under his belt, he has produced and incredible body of award winning images.  His bio from his website reads like the following:  he is or has been a member of the APA, ASMP, NANPA, NAPP, NPPA, PLUS and the Artist Trust Foundation of Washington and has served on the Presidents Council and the Digital Imaging Advisory Council of the International Center for Photography and as a Digital Technology Advisor to the NTID at Rochester Institute of Technology. He was a founding member and first Chairman of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Advertising Photographers of America and also served on the APA’s National Executive Board.

What’s great about finding a mentor, is that you learn to share your skills and pass them on, and I’ve been able to do just that, is to pass along some of what I know, and have learned, to a number of local photographers.

Along the way, each one of us learns something new, and learns how to tweak it into our own skill set.  I have always loved photography, but Ric has taught me something new, and that’s to never stop, and to always keep shooting to improve.

I think he once told me that there’s always going to be someone else better, or more knowledgeable than you, and the only way to get better, is to keep doing what you love, and that’s taking pictures.

Here’s to my mentor, Ric Kasnoff – Thanks for the inspiration, and the continued support of objective confidence.

You can see some of Ric’s work here: www.rickasnoff.com

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