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Idle ChitchatWhy I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

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minniev
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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby minniev » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:37 pm

St3v3M wrote:I speak for a living and am honored to the point where I'm left wondering what to say.

I think you all know me by now, and how I got here at least through the emails I've sent, but fair is fair and it's only right that I re-introduce myself.

My name is Steven Murray, aka St3v3M, aka S-, or Steve, and I have been a 'photographer' for as long as I can remember, but have only committed myself in the last few years. In that time I came across a controversial ad for a photography forum and joined up. While there I offered to run a single photo challenge that turned into a multi-year Weekly Photo Challenge odyssey. Sometime into that I helped start a Critique Section and eventually a Section of my own, at least as much of my own as it could be.

One of the most amazing things that came from all of this was meeting most of you, you who have helped me in my life, my photography, and of course everything we do here. I'm not sure if most you know, but while I have my name on the domain the site is not mine, it's a collection of all of you. I'm serious when I ask what you love about the site, hate about the site, and want to see it become, and have had some of the people here help guide it us that direction. I can go on and on about me as I've been known to talk for hours, but one thing I love most is to listen, and I'm listening to you.

I remember the day Minnie asked if I knew Bobby Deal from photoMentoris. It's been a wild ride and an adventure ever since then. I took this over to make something of my own, but mostly to save the community here. I love photography, and I love helping people where I can, but mostly I love what you've done here and the home you're building. There's much to do yet, and many, many more people to join us, but I'm honored and amazed by the joy each one of you bring to the site, sharing your work, heart and soul, your honesty, and personal care for one another. This is a tribute to you and it's only getting better!

Why do I live on pM? You, all of you, and what you do here each and every day! S-


Thanks for chiming in Steve, and I agree there is much to do for all of us here, to make pM the vibrant community we all want, but even though now small, it is already the kind of honest and collaborative place where anyone at any level could find a photographic home.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby minniev » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:53 pm

Duck wrote:It's interesting to see the arcs of people's lives and how they converge at just the right opportunistic time.

My journey here began early on in my switch from film to digital back on 2004/2005. For several years I floated from forum to forum, not settling on any one right away. There were so many to choose from and each had their own personality and idiosyncrasies. Some structures I found awkward to use, some were specialized and others were rather inactive. The interesting thing about lurking is that you start seeing who the players are and where they reside within these communities and there were a couple of names that repeated across multiple forums; Ed Shapiro and Benji, were two names that caught my attention. Not because of their photography (they are portraitists, I am not) but for their willingness to selfishlessly help others. Not just with a quick supportive pat on the back but with complete lessons rolled into these episodic posts worthy of publication in a book or magazine. I eventually decided to jump in and create an account and join a community. In 2010 I joined "The Camel", a really happening forum with so much activity it was mind boggling.

During those five years of lurking I was getting myself reacquainted with photography. I had grown up shooting 35mm film and even traveled the world during my enlistment in the Navy with a Canon AE1-P and several lenses (I still have 2 bodies and an assortment of lenses). As time went on, though, my art career began to take off and I was using drawing and design as my principal artistic outlet and photography soon took a back seat to documenting a few family moments and recording some of my artwork. Nothing serious and nothing overly involved. Until my wife bought me my first digital camera, that is. By 2004 it was getting harder and harder to get film developed and printed. She bought me a 6MP Kodak Easyshare and a dye sublimation photo printer that printed 4x6 photos that took forever to print (five passes per print, one for each CMYK and one for a top lamination sheet.) I digress.

In searching for outlets (excuses) to use my newfound hobby I discovered meetup groups. People who share the same love of photography coming together just to take pictures. The only problem was that most of these groups were a collection of amateur photographers led by an amateur photographer with little or no 'real' instruction. I quickly got disappointed with the Kodak as I was more comfortable with a SLR in my hands. Within a year I had bought my first dSLR, a Canon 40D with the 70-300 kit lens... and all things changed. I discovered I really didn't know as much about photography as I thought. Sure, the fundamentals were there, but all those damn buttons and menus and... well, stuff I didn't think I needed. I needed help and I knew my fellow photogs were in similar boats. I began seeking education. As luck would have it, the internet was a treasure trove of information. Not quite what it is today, but enough to get me on track. Before long I found myself being the "go to guy" if anyone had a photography question. Shortly after that 'discovery' I began my own Meetup group and it eventually evolved to a teaching gig and this is when I started looking for a place where teachers and instructors could meet. No such luck.

It was during this evolution that I started getting some attention on the Camel. I had begun publishing my blog posts into their Tutorials section and became active in many of the conversations. I then received a referral from Bobby Deal (seconded by Ed Shapiro) to take on the role of a moderator for that section of their forum. An honor and a privilege I took up. I began weeding out and organizing that section of the forum and it became the foundation for how our Tutorial section is organized here on pM. My hope was to be given the opportunity to evolve that place into a haven for photography instructors also and this is where I began to make other friends; Bobby, Tom, Ernst, John, Michael and others. During that time ownership changed at the Camel and many of us noticed a slow but swift shift in the personality of the forum. Pro photographers began getting labeled as 'elitists' and amateurs suddenly began getting complacent with this weird entitlement mentality that just didn't seem real and definitely didn't sit well with pros like Ed, Bobby and Benji who felt abused for their generosity. So much so that Benji was the first to leave and let me tell you, his leaving was definitely noticed though no apology was given or changes made. Then the division of forces came and I was lumped into the group with Bobby and Ed and the others and we were summarily booted out sometime in 2014 with no warning or the "benefit of a reach around," as they say.

It was then that Bobby approached me with his concept for photoMENTORIS and he, John, Tom and myself got together to build this place. We would build it in our own images and become GODS OF OUR OWN DOMAIN!!! :fart:

Maybe not, but we did have lofty ideas and a certain expectation. Bobby also had a definitive goal for this place and that was to create a place where both pros and amateurs can come together to meet, share ideas and learn from each other, without egos, without posturings and without the drama encountered in so many other forums (not just the Camel.) For the most part I am very happy with what has been built here. Our initial goal seems to be in place and holding strong. I am happy that I have a place for instructors to be able to chat amongst themselves without fear of having students listening in and calling them out. I am happy to have a place where we can continue to share ideas and teachings. A place where we can ask questions and get real answers rather than opinions and a place for critical commentary rather than attaboys.

Unfortunately Bobby's situation changed drastically to the point he was not able to maintain the forum as he'd hoped but I am glad that Steve was able to step up to the plate to take over the reigns here. I, for one, am very grateful for this. We are definitely still in our infancy in terms of growth and hopefully we'll get some attention for our efforts. I am finding it hard to promote the site since it is considered 'bad form' to advertise someone else's forum within a similar forum. Although I would love to start creating fake accounts and blast the Camel with posts about this place. (!)

Anyway, that's my long story of how I got here. Hope I didn't bore you too much. ;)


I enjoyed your "long story", Duck, thanks for sharing it here. I am here, too, because I wanted more about learning and sharing and less about forum politics and troll-management. And though I didn't know any of the pM residents except Dave, I was sure I'd be comfortable with Steve's philosophy and wanted to be a part of his project. I hope together we'll find the secret recipe for finding and luring in new members. Maybe we should share ideas about how to approach that task?
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby St3v3M » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:01 pm

Duck wrote:...
Anyway, that's my long story of how I got here. Hope I didn't bore you too much. ;)

It's wonderful to hear everyone's back story, and how the site came to be. It seems like we're all looking for something! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby St3v3M » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:03 pm

minniev wrote:Thanks for chiming in Steve, and I agree there is much to do for all of us here, to make pM the vibrant community we all want, but even though now small, it is already the kind of honest and collaborative place where anyone at any level could find a photographic home.

Small gives us the chance to shape it the way we want before it becomes so popular it's harder to change. The more the merrier though! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby St3v3M » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:05 pm

minniev wrote:... I hope together we'll find the secret recipe for finding and luring in new members. Maybe we should share ideas about how to approach that task?

I'm open for whatever works best! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby davechinn » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:48 am

minniev wrote:Thank you Dave! I appreciate you sharing your side of the trip, and your pM journey as well.

It is interesting how our paths cross and new paths open up, but the journey is fun and very scenic. Your wonderful images (except for wet bedraggled Minnie who cannot be helped) add much to the story. It's something we need to do again!



I always find situations such as this interesting. Its like forces of nature. Don't try to change, fight or interrupt it. Just go with the flow is how I choose to address issues out of our control. Yes I agree it is something we need to do again. It was a fun experience that I will cherish until the next time. My calendar of events tell me there is a possibly of a return trip to New Orleans in September 2018. It would be such great fun to do it again and maybe with others as well.
Dave

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby davechinn » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:18 am

St3v3M wrote:
davechinn wrote:Thanks Minnie !!! I do remember most of our conversation concerning photoMentoris, but wasn't aware, or don't remember you contacting Steve. Who knows, the whole New Orleans shoot may have been a hidden metaphor in regards to pM. I would like to think of it as some sorta karma? How we have gotten here would be an interesting read.
...
I too, would encourage anyone that had the opportunity for a photo meet up to do so because it is an entertaining experience.

I've always believed life was a series of choices, but there are times it can feel directed as if everything just falls into place. The story of our site, and the family here is one of these and I couldn't be happier for it. I've met many people in my life that have helped me, but none more than everyone here!

And Wow! 'Shadow of a Lonely Man' is an amazing work of art you should be proud of. I've been to No'leans twice, hated it the first time and feel in love with it the second. It's also where I took my favorite shot, one that's a mystery to me still today. Your work is an inspiration to me! Thank you! S-



Thank you for the compliment Steve !!! I find this sort of discussion interesting for the fact it gives us some knowledge of introduction. Who we are, where we come from, and while everyone travels a different path, we come together with similar interests to share through this long winding road of photography/art.
Dave

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby Charles Haacker » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:51 pm

It has been a real pleasure reading other folks’ stories. Everyone has a story. Every human is unique. Not “special” necessarily, but unique if only in one single way. :thanks:

Duck, I was especially interested in your story since some of it is like mine, except I was a full-time working pro, 16 years as a studio owner, doing ---everything. My late wife was our business manager. I was the chief photographer, chief assistant, chief printer, chief retoucher, chief gofer, chief floor mopper, whatever. I called it a “general practice.” I rarely turned down an assignment, and then only when I was certain I could not do it. We bought an existing studio from a portrait-and-wedding guy, so we did portraits and weddings, but my background was commercial photography. I even have a “degree” in it, an Associate of Science from Laney College in Oakland, California, thanks to my long-suffering wife + the GI Bill. I quickly discovered that my degree plus 50 cents (I think at the time) would get me a ride on the bus. If I wanted to work, I had to self-employ. I freelanced some years before we bought the studio, where we lasted 16 years, but ultimately our combined lack of business acumen caused the studio to sink beneath us, taking everything with it. Folks ask me now what it takes to be a pro photographer; I tell 'em Business Courses! On the other hand, being a full-time working pro made me a pretty competent photographer. I will never be an artist, but I always, always get the picture.

My wife’s sister lived in Madison, Wisconsin. “Come here,” she said, so we did. I sadly hung up my guns and spent months (I was then 52 years old) trying to get anyone to hire me for anything. Unfortunately I finally landed a lawn-and-garden gig at Sears. Most of you know that once you do something, that is now what you are forever. I finished my retail odyssey 16 miserable years later at Home Despot (no that’s not a misspelling). At least we built up a little retirement between us, and we made the most of it.

For years I essentially refused to pick up a camera. In 2007 we were going to vacation in Colorado (my bride was born in Wyoming and was a Denver U graduate). Daphne wanted me to take a camera. I complained [whined] I was already overpacked (which I was), so she offered to budget a hundred bucks for one o’them newfangled digital thingies. I was reluctant, but not as reluctant as I was to take a "real" camera. I selected a Nikon L-12, no bigger than a pack of cards, and HOLY POOP WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! To this day I cannot believe what that tiny camera could do.

Duck indicated he had some issues getting used to digital menus and buttons and bells and whistles (I KNOW whatcha mean!), but I was incredibly lucky that my studio was burgled in 1986. :S That’s lucky insofar as I had to replace my stolen SLRs with a matched pair of Canon T-90’s, today considered one of the finest 35mm SLRs ever designed, and loaded with newfangled electronics and menus and buttons and stuff. I learned that camera inside out and backwards and it set me up perfectly for digital. The biggest single difference was a sensor instead of film. My tiny L-12 could do stuff that I am certain I could not have done at all in film. I went bazoogas. The following year I staged up to a Nikon P5000, a “Performance” camera with manual control, but no raw. In 2011 when our son was getting married I stepped up again to a Nikon P7000. I was and still am pretty dedicated to all-in-one compacts. I still have a P7100 and a P7800 (electronic viewfinders ROCK), but last year I stepped up again to a 1” sensor Sony RX10, still laughably in the “compact” class except it weighs almost 2 pounds with its massive f/2.8 Zeiss zoom, but review after review confirms that it is pretty much a fixed-zoom mirrorless, a pro camera in all but name. For me, the convenience of a do-it-all camera outweighs (see what I did there?) the load of a huge bag of gewgaws on my shoulder.

When I got that L-12 I also got a gift of Photoshop Elements 2.0, where I cut my finishing teeth. Last year, when I got the Sony, I opted to subscribe to Creative Cloud. I’d been shooting raw since 2015 and kept hearing how incredible was Lightroom. I am now a total believer. Raw ROCKS! Lightroom ROCKS. So does Photoshop, but I always begin in LR and only go to PS for things that Lightroom can't do at all, or does less well.

So why am I here? To commune with like-minded photographers. I define a photographer as one who takes pictures. I dislike to classify amateurs and pros. Amateurs do it for love, pros do it for money. Today I think of myself as an amateur, a retired pro. I have seen amateur work that blows the doors off some pros, and pro work that made me wonder, Are you kidding me? I am absolutely positively not a purist, and I am willing to share anything I may know with anyone who asks. Nicely. Asks nicely.

Camels and Hedgehogs and Mentors oh my? “...to create a place where both pros and amateurs can come together to meet, share ideas and learn from each other, without egos, without posturings and without the drama encountered in so many other forums…” I came over from the Hedgehog, not because it was so awful over there, but there did seem to be an awful lot of trolling and flame-warring. I am somewhat sensitive, and just before Christmas I lost my bride of 46+ years so that’s why I drop completely out sometimes: I get in a pretty deep hole. I’m pretty good right now, as in today, and having other folks to talk to is good, but flame wars and trolls are not good. Minnie and Linda and Steve invited me to check out photoMENTORIS (you've no doubt noticed there’s a lotta ‘hog refugees over here). I like the peace! I try to stay involved but sometimes I back into the hole. I guess it’ll get better eventually. Meanwhile, that’s my long story and I’m stickin’ to it. :cheers:
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby St3v3M » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:04 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:It has been a real pleasure reading other folks’ stories. Everyone has a story. Every human is unique. Not “special” necessarily, but unique if only in one single way. ...

So true and it was a pleasure reading your story as well. It's really fun reading these and I feel closer because of them. Thank you! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Re: Why I Live At PM (photoMentoris) - add your story

Postby minniev » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:53 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:It has been a real pleasure reading other folks’ stories. Everyone has a story. Every human is unique. Not “special” necessarily, but unique if only in one single way. :thanks:

Duck, I was especially interested in your story since some of it is like mine, except I was a full-time working pro, 16 years as a studio owner, doing ---everything. My late wife was our business manager. I was the chief photographer, chief assistant, chief printer, chief retoucher, chief gofer, chief floor mopper, whatever. I called it a “general practice.” I rarely turned down an assignment, and then only when I was certain I could not do it. We bought an existing studio from a portrait-and-wedding guy, so we did portraits and weddings, but my background was commercial photography. I even have a “degree” in it, an Associate of Science from Laney College in Oakland, California, thanks to my long-suffering wife + the GI Bill. I quickly discovered that my degree plus 50 cents (I think at the time) would get me a ride on the bus. If I wanted to work, I had to self-employ. I freelanced some years before we bought the studio, where we lasted 16 years, but ultimately our combined lack of business acumen caused the studio to sink beneath us, taking everything with it. Folks ask me now what it takes to be a pro photographer; I tell 'em Business Courses! On the other hand, being a full-time working pro made me a pretty competent photographer. I will never be an artist, but I always, always get the picture.

My wife’s sister lived in Madison, Wisconsin. “Come here,” she said, so we did. I sadly hung up my guns and spent months (I was then 52 years old) trying to get anyone to hire me for anything. Unfortunately I finally landed a lawn-and-garden gig at Sears. Most of you know that once you do something, that is now what you are forever. I finished my retail odyssey 16 miserable years later at Home Despot (no that’s not a misspelling). At least we built up a little retirement between us, and we made the most of it.

For years I essentially refused to pick up a camera. In 2007 we were going to vacation in Colorado (my bride was born in Wyoming and was a Denver U graduate). Daphne wanted me to take a camera. I complained [whined] I was already overpacked (which I was), so she offered to budget a hundred bucks for one o’them newfangled digital thingies. I was reluctant, but not as reluctant as I was to take a "real" camera. I selected a Nikon L-12, no bigger than a pack of cards, and HOLY POOP WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! To this day I cannot believe what that tiny camera could do.

Duck indicated he had some issues getting used to digital menus and buttons and bells and whistles (I KNOW whatcha mean!), but I was incredibly lucky that my studio was burgled in 1986. :S That’s lucky insofar as I had to replace my stolen SLRs with a matched pair of Canon T-90’s, today considered one of the finest 35mm SLRs ever designed, and loaded with newfangled electronics and menus and buttons and stuff. I learned that camera inside out and backwards and it set me up perfectly for digital. The biggest single difference was a sensor instead of film. My tiny L-12 could do stuff that I am certain I could not have done at all in film. I went bazoogas. The following year I staged up to a Nikon P5000, a “Performance” camera with manual control, but no raw. In 2011 when our son was getting married I stepped up again to a Nikon P7000. I was and still am pretty dedicated to all-in-one compacts. I still have a P7100 and a P7800 (electronic viewfinders ROCK), but last year I stepped up again to a 1” sensor Sony RX10, still laughably in the “compact” class except it weighs almost 2 pounds with its massive f/2.8 Zeiss zoom, but review after review confirms that it is pretty much a fixed-zoom mirrorless, a pro camera in all but name. For me, the convenience of a do-it-all camera outweighs (see what I did there?) the load of a huge bag of gewgaws on my shoulder.

When I got that L-12 I also got a gift of Photoshop Elements 2.0, where I cut my finishing teeth. Last year, when I got the Sony, I opted to subscribe to Creative Cloud. I’d been shooting raw since 2015 and kept hearing how incredible was Lightroom. I am now a total believer. Raw ROCKS! Lightroom ROCKS. So does Photoshop, but I always begin in LR and only go to PS for things that Lightroom can't do at all, or does less well.

So why am I here? To commune with like-minded photographers. I define a photographer as one who takes pictures. I dislike to classify amateurs and pros. Amateurs do it for love, pros do it for money. Today I think of myself as an amateur, a retired pro. I have seen amateur work that blows the doors off some pros, and pro work that made me wonder, Are you kidding me? I am absolutely positively not a purist, and I am willing to share anything I may know with anyone who asks. Nicely. Asks nicely.

Camels and Hedgehogs and Mentors oh my? “...to create a place where both pros and amateurs can come together to meet, share ideas and learn from each other, without egos, without posturings and without the drama encountered in so many other forums…” I came over from the Hedgehog, not because it was so awful over there, but there did seem to be an awful lot of trolling and flame-warring. I am somewhat sensitive, and just before Christmas I lost my bride of 46+ years so that’s why I drop completely out sometimes: I get in a pretty deep hole. I’m pretty good right now, as in today, and having other folks to talk to is good, but flame wars and trolls are not good. Minnie and Linda and Steve invited me to check out photoMENTORIS (you've no doubt noticed there’s a lotta ‘hog refugees over here). I like the peace! I try to stay involved but sometimes I back into the hole. I guess it’ll get better eventually. Meanwhile, that’s my long story and I’m stickin’ to it. :cheers:

Thanks for sharing your personal journey with photography and life, Chuck, with all it's mountains and valleys. We are building a community here, and are glad to have you in this that I'd call the second wave.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones


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