Welcome to Lensbaby Journeys. We have asked photographers to write about their journey with photography and with Lensbaby, however they want to approach it. Each piece will come directly from an individual photographer in their own words, accompanied by their photographs. 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, Mina?
So my story....in a nutshell...
I grew up in a huge family; I am the second to oldest in a family of thirteen. My parents are children of holocaust survivors. The only remnants of their families, their dynasty, and lost childhood are in the few precious tear-stained faded sepia photos they managed to salvage. For me, a single photo holds tremendous value, a link to the past, and a piece of my identity.
How It All Began
I have always been fascinated with photography. When I was 8 years old, my best friend bought me the gift of a lifetime, a 35mm film camera which fueled my passion and sucked up all my allowance money when it came time to develop pictures. I was the "memory keeper" and gladly took responsible for documenting the candid moments of my family life, of my school days, and adventures.
When I graduated high school, the first digital camera with a swivel lens made by Nikon came out. I was psyched! I saved every penny and worked the whole summer to purchase it. I needed something different than standard, I was always searching for tools that allowed my work to stand out as different and share my vision.
A few years later, I worked another job and finally bought my first digital SLR. As I journeyed through my own path to motherhood, overcame loss and infertility, photography became my strongest comfort outlet.
When my husband and I were finally blessed with twins, I felt like I won a jackpot - and not just for all the photo ops!
When my son was born following my twin daughters, I started blogging. I also started following many artists, and that is when I discovered Lensbaby. What a treasure!
I worked another whole summer as a head counselor in a camp and although my salary went toward the needs of my family, I set aside all my tips and treated myself to the Lensbaby collection.
Mina Richler with Composer Pro and Double Glass Optic
Seeing Things Differently
My son has the gift of autism. He is talented and creative. I feel like we have something in common, the two of us - his unique artistic vision and whatever fixation or passion of the month he is thriving on. Me, my crazy passion for photography, the little nuances in an image, the common denominator that allows us both to see out of the box.
As my family has grown, my appreciation for the ability to capture the fleeting moments, the laughter, the milestones, the beautiful expressions and meaningful experiences has grown with me. Photography is my outlet and form of self-expression; it allows me to see beyond.
Keeping It Alive
I run an online support group for moms of autism as well as counsel many women through my line of work. I firmly believe and constantly emphasize that we cannot lose ourselves to motherhood. That being consumed with children, a husband, and balancing work in between, is no reason to suffocate our talents. I so strongly believe that our passions, hobbies, and interests are a medium to becoming better at whatever we do or whoever we are.
Moving Forward - Success
My biggest challenge to success is "sticking to the rules" of photography. Yet, I believe it is also what allows me to achieve. I believe that to stand out, to succeed, you have to cross the line. To go to extraordinary, to let the creativity flow, to get out of the box - or rule of thirds- you need to be different. And that's what Lensbaby is for!
I am currently using the original Lensbaby Composer Pro with the manual aperture disks and attachments. I always encourage anyone I mentor to learn photography by using the Lensbaby Composer Lens with the aperture disks as a means to understanding the relationship between light, ISO and shutter speed. I am now able to demonstrate using my mirrorless camera with live view (I use the Sony A7ii). It is so gratifying to watch my students really grasp the essential concepts of photography with the Lensbaby as a tool. I really believe every photography student, hobbyist, artist, and anyone who wants to master the art of film should experiment with the Lensbaby system as a right of passage into being a true master of the art.
Do you have a Lensbaby journey story? Share it with us for your very own feature! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.