For many years, I was a writer for hire. I wrote countless magazine articles and books as the means by which I made a living. I loved writing and I loved photography and so I counted myself lucky that I could earn money by doing two things that I enjoyed and felt that I did well.
But about three years ago, I burned out. I was writing, but doing so for the sake of a paycheck. I had lost the joy and passion that had spurred me to make this my life’s work. That decision resulted in a big financial hit, but I just didn’t have it in me to keep pressing on.
It was especially the case with magazine work, which had been just as adversely affected by the drop in advertising revenue as was the newspaper industry. Increasingly, page counts in magazines decreased and as a result the need for content from freelancers. Articles that might have been assigned to someone like me was handled in-house and if it was doled out to a freelancer it was for a considerable lesser fee than before. Same work. Smaller check.
Writing a book was no less challenging. The difference is the long-term commitment to produce a title that might or might not do well in the market.
It was that in mind that I made the decision to not write a book again until I had an idea that I really wanted to tackle. I wasn’t going to say yes just for a paycheck or because I wanted to keep my name out there. No, I wanted to produce a book that I was excited to write about. The result is my latest book, Making Photographs: Developing a Personal Visual Workflow.
The book was born from the principles of photography that I teach in my street photography workshops. In those sessions, I shared with people not just how to make photographs, but how to learn to see. I discussed the importance of light and shadow, line and shape, color and gesture. I guided them as to how to see with intent and purpose and to make the transition from taking photographs to actually making them.
The growth of my students in those workshops was always heartening. I was able to see a significant change in their photographs over the course of a couple of days. Photographs that they might not have ever considered making before were suddenly possible as a result of a slight shift of vision. Time after time I witnessed how people found a renewed joy in their photography as a result, not of the purchase of a new camera, but because they had learned a different way of seeing.
It was that experience that led me to write Making Photographs which is being published by Rocky Nook Press. It’s provided me the opportunity to translate what I share in the classroom but now on the printed page. It’s my hope that I will be able to reach out to thousands of more people than I could ever reach in individual workshops.
By teaching people how to see with purpose, of understanding how to parse a scene for light and composition and later cull their images, I hope to instill in them a clear approach to being a more consistent and creative photographer.
Each chapter begins with an image and the story behind it. I then explore a different aspect of photography that I believe is applicable regardless of what genre of photography you practice. Though I am often identified as a street photographer, I believe that what I share in this book goes far beyond one particular genre of photography.
The eBook version of Making Photographs is available now, with the softback version due out in December. You can purchase the ebook today or place a pre-order through the Rocky Nook website. Just use the promo code PERELLO40 to receive a 40% discount on your purchase of either version.
If you enjoyed my first book, Chasing the Light, you will find that Making Photographs as a natural extension of that approach. As I have changed and evolved as a photographer so has my approach and I think that you will find in this title the means by which you can and will derive more joy and satisfaction from your photography.