Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Poe Blog Feature - What is the Luckiest Thing That Ever Happened to You as a Photographer?

Himalayan Blue Poppy by Tiffany Teske
This image is available for purchase here.

Ann Wilkinson, a blog writer for my Etsy street team, Photographers of Etsy, contacted me about an article she was compiling. The topic, luck, is a wonderful subject seeing as we just celebrate St Patrick's Day. It was a fun to think about the "luck" I have had as a photographer. Below is what I wrote. If you would like to see the amazing images and great answers from the other photographers go to the Poe Blog.

"This a great question! There are several ways I define luck, so I have several answers.

When I was in University, studying photography, I had several "lucky" things happen to me. Now, I use quotes around lucky, because really, I feel these things happened to me as the result of hard work, not just luck. The first involved having my a duo show with another student in the school gallery. His work was color photography from a trip to Italy, and mine was black and white documentary project I shot in Nicaragua. The next year, I had a solo show in the same gallery, a documentary I shot nearby in rural Maine. I was the first student to have duo and solo shows in that gallery, previously there had only been group shows. I was lucky that the director of the photography program was a mentor to me. I also worked for William Wegman, the dog photographer, for my internship. He works in Manhattan, but summers in Rangeley, Maine, a town that was about 1 hour from my town. I wrote him a letter, asking to be his intern, and he said yes! I learned there is never any harm in asking, and it can pay off.

There are also those "lucky" things that happen to you as a photographer that come from someone seeing your work. One time I was contacted by a woman who was given a photo greeting card I made. She loved the image, of tulips, and kept it on a bulletin board for two years. She was in marketing, and when she contacted me, she was working on a website to represent and showcase rural Maine artists. She ended up hiring me to do all the photography for the site, which involved traveling to the studios of all of these artists, photographing them, then working in the studio to photograph their work. It was amazing! I was paid VERY well, and in the end, I also had two gallery shows in the gallery that this woman opened, as well as being represented on the website. AND the man who worked down the hall from her was a music producer, and he hired me three different times to photograph recording sessions. My images ended up in three music albums. And I know there was more work, mostly portrait sessions, that came from that. So, ONE photo card that someone kept for two years brought me about $10,000 worth of work plus many priceless work experiences.

The last way I feel I can speak to this "lucky" question is in the serendipitous things that have happened to me just because I picked up my camera and went out in the world. Those things that happen right in front of you that you never expected and that you would never have seen if you had not gotten off your butt and went out to photograph. There are many, many of these, but some that come to mind include being in Haiti and being invited to photograph a baby just as it was born and on the same trip photographing a funeral procession that went past our house. Also, being in Spain and photographing a peaceful march of protesting workers, and being in Sweden and photographing a wedding procession. Of course, these sorts of life events are happening all around us, and as long as we are camera ready, we can catch a bit of the luck.


robyn said...

oh my gosh! It just never ends, all your experiences. Honestly, I feel like I've been hiding under a rock my entire life after reading about your life experiences. Oh, I just road tripped around australia for a couple months, oh yeah and that time that I was william wegman's intern.
robyn=wishing she was tiffany

Tiffany Teske said...

LOL, you are so silly, Robyn :) Every time I read your blog I am like, "Man, that Robyn, wish I were her..." You should jump in your car and road trip to me so we can hang out!