Journey Story: Khandie Photography
Welcome to the Lensbaby Journey Story series. We've asked photographers to write about their journey with photography and with Lensbaby, in any way they want to approach it. Each piece comes directly from an individual photographer in their own words, accompanied by their photos. Our hope is that these journey stories will resonate with you, inspire you, and push you forward on your own path.
What is your Lensbaby journey story, Khandie?
I am not going to spout on about how photography was a great love of mine from an early age because, quite honestly, I was petrified of photography in my formative years. My family was forever shoving a camera in my face and my every move was captured, from first potty use to tying my laces. Great for them, anxiety-inducing for me. I was anti-photo. I avoided. I once even hid in a strangers car to avoid a dreaded family photo. To the point, now there are about eight images of me from birth to the day I left to join the military. I did, however, love cameras. Not shooting with them but restoring them. I still to this day find myself rebuilding vintage cameras.
However, after joining the military and then later entering into the world of burlesque, I wanted to record my life. I wanted something as magical as my surroundings. I had at the time been gifted a Pentax camera from an old boyfriend, and its with this camera that I really learned my craft. It was so clunky. I started to read book after book on photography and snapping more and more. I started with standard pet photos and flowers, yet nothing was really putting a fire in my belly like capturing people. In particular, I was drawn to people with stories to tell or who allowed me to style (tentatively at this point) them more. I started to explore what I could do in camera to alter my imagery so as not to rely on Photoshop. I became frustrated with the lens limitation and the clunkiness of the Pentax.
One afternoon, I came across a garage sale in Cambridge, and sitting on a box was a strange looking lens. It was a Lensbaby 3G for only 5. It had three metal prongs and was so odd I bought it without really knowing much about it. I soon realized it wouldnt fit my camera, so I upgraded to a Nikon D90 (yeah that long ago). I fell hook, line and sinker for it. It took me a while to really adapt to the new way this lens worked. I still have a love/hate relationship with those manual aperture rings. Before long, I was being approached by people to photograph them, so I started the tentative steps into being a professional photographer. My work was being shared online, and I scored a few front covers and praise for my work.
Recently, whilst pootering about yet another stuffy tradeshow, I spotted the Lensbaby stand. I fell in love. I spent money but with no buyer's remorse. I mean, from the moment that Spark snapped onto my Nikon, it was a lustful mnage trois between me, my camera and the lens. I adored the way the image distorted and challenged the eye. I was taken by the milkiness and the overall dreamlike quality.
I used that Spark so much but rarely on a client shoot, worried they wouldnt see my vision-- as much as I wanted to share it. Sadly, during an on-location group shoot, my beloved Spark was taken. I hope whoever took it is enjoying it as much as I did. I started to fall back to using my old 3G. It is a lens that I still reach for, especially during fashion shoots and weddings. I love what it does with the veil when shooting bridal portraits.
As I became more confident as a photographer, I saw my work ethic change. My clients also changed. I was attracting the right kind of clients who fell in love with my quirkier lens choice, my love of styled shoots and strong portraits. I recently added the Lensbaby Twist 60 and love it. I miss the Spark for sure, but the Twist dare I say fits me more now. In a saturated market of photography, I am always challenging myself to stand out. The Lensbaby lenses help me in my quest-- they fit, they counterchallenge me and enhance my work. These lenses didnt just help on my journey to being a better photographer, they helped me up my game.