The Creative Process

gigi-embrechts-78

gigi-embrechts-78

Most photographers today realize that unless you are doing photo journalism the image that comes out of camera and the image you have in mind are far from each other. If you are a photographer like me who wants to create fine art photography  the camera is just the start. Something like an artist first pencil of the rough image, or a writers first few sentences this is not the final product but just the beginning.

With all the digital tools we have to create it is no wonder we are seeing some amazing digital art and photography all over the web. When I first started down the photography road and just learning to get comfortable with my camera I remember looking at those amazing images and saying "yes but they are not real they were photoshopped" like photoshopped meant that the photographer did not have to have the camera skills to take the photograph but opted to just do something with it in Photoshop. As I learned and grew I realized this is far from the truth.

You have to be an accomplished photographer to get a great image, even if it is just the starting part. You need to know what subject your subject is, where to place the subject in the photograph, how to direct the viewer to the subject, get great exposure and focus and do this all under great light which is really like your paint. A photographer with experience hopes you will linger in the photograph and connect as they did to the subject. What comes out of the camera is only the start to achieving this goal.

Sometimes however in the case of this photograph, I had no idea what I wanted to do with this image. I just knew that when I saw this mare and foal I loved the close connection they had. There were many distractions in the background but I  was focusing on them. In fact when I uploaded this image I passed it by several times due to all the distractions, and just wrote it off as a lesson in moving to avoid distractions and  get a better angle. I did not delete it, but it was going to live in my archives as a lesson learned for quiet a while.

But it kept haunting me because of the eye of the mare and the connection she had with her foal, Something told me it was worth looking at again. Then it dawned on me that if I play with it maybe I could use the digital tools I have to make something create something.

Here is where I started and the different things I tried before getting to the final image at the top

After trial and error of this photograph I had finally created something I really loved. It started as just a photograph, but it would not leave me alone and ended up to be an art piece I loved so much I made the investment to have it framed and is now hanging proudly on my wall. It also taught me to look at photography a bit different. Look for the art, look at my subject more and know there could be a hidden gem in there. I do not always have to take the perfect photograph when it comes to background and distractions but I do have to make sure the exposure is correct, the focus is right and the subject is placed where I need it to be. But the bigger lesson is to slow down and listen to what my subject wants to say. Then it is my job to create and tell that story.

This image will be available for purchase on my website https://gigiembrechts.com

camera-dslr-landscape-212372.jpg

Taking A Leap In 2013

Leap of Faith - Krabi Thailand I have been studying photography intensely for the past five years. I had the time and opportunity when I first moved to Belgium because I was not qualified to get a "real" job there due to lack of language skills and adjusting to learning the culture. I knew I needed a craft, something I could do that would give my life or should I say my career life some value. I chose photography because I love to find the beauty in the details of what otherwise would be a mundane scene.

Like all new photographers I tried every thing. Started out with landscapes, which I do still enjoy but something was missing. I was starting to get bored.  I felt there was something else I needed to photograph. I tried, to do  portraits and gathered  family and friends, but I know this is not for me. I just do not feel comfortable telling people how to stand, turn their heads, and please not say cheese. I did not want to orchestrate the photograph I want to capture it.

My daughter-in law with her daughter

It wasn't until I went to my first draft horse plowing event in Belgium that I found the passion  that I felt was missing. I am drawn to horses and rural living,  Horses because I know them so well and they have been a big part of my life. Rural living because I have always loved living out away from the crowd. Photographing this draft horse plowing a field with this man who was doing it for the last time was a thrill for me. I love hearing their stories and see what others are doing on their farms and with their animals.

Brabant At Work

So here is the leap. I am going to get serious and do the photography I love. Even as I write these words I am afraid of what I am about to do. But I have learned from the past, that being afraid and experiencing fear means you are on to something. If you are not afraid of your dream it is not big enough.

Here is the list of why I am afraid to concentrate my business to horses and rural life.

  1. Because I travel I do not own my own horse  it is not easy to practice.
  2. How many clients could I get with the lifestyle I live by traveling between two countries?
  3. I will have to spend time and money marketing to find my subjects or clients.
  4. The world is moving away from country life and animals and no one will be interested in horses or rural lifestyles anymore.
  5. Can I really get to the level of photography I am trying to achieve?
  6. Can I make a living at creating these kind of photographs?

Now if you are reading this and own a  horse  or live on a back road I am sure you can put my fears to rest because you love horses and rural living as much as I do. But I am coming from the photography business world where you see amazing photographs and feel you will never be this good. I want to aspire to one of the best and it scares me that I may fail.

I could photograph pets, families, weddings, events, sports, etc and maybe carve out a living. But for me there is no passion there and I know I would only be mediocre at best.

So here is my first big leap of 2013. I am going to strive to be a great horse and rural life photographer. I want to make a good living at this so I can continue to grow in my field.

There I said it, now as soon as I press "publish" I must find a way to do this.

Follow me and let's together see what happens. Will this  be a success or will I have to make a new goal next year? I am dedicating one full year to giving my all to this small niche in photography.

I have made big leaps in my life before, which I will share on occasion here, and I have learned that if you have the heart, and desire and get out-of-the-way life will help you find your path. You first job is to fight off the fear that wants to hold you back.

In my next blog I will share my recent leap to get closer to my family. This was "huge"

[contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

The Brabant, A Horse For the Working Man

Brabant At Work I am an equine photographer and one of my favorite breeds is the Brabant draught horse. This horse is tall and massive and made for work, yet has the most docile attitude of any breed of horse I have ever been around. Good thing with the size of their feet and body they could easily be the boss.

I live half of my life in Belgium with my husband who is from here (long story I will get into in later posts) but since I have been here I have taken thousands of photographs of these horses. I am  always looking for the next event or gathering of the men that are trying to keep the tradition of working with horses alive. I seen them plow fields, log in the woods, pull caravans, fish in the ocean, cut hay, and just be the babysitter in the family. Pound for pound you get your moneys worth with these gentle giants.

Recently my husband read me an article in the local paper ( I would have read it myself but it is in dutch) the article stated how the government is subsidizing the farmers who are breeding these horses because their popularity is falling off and they want to preserve this original Belgium breed. They are paying 125 euros  for each foal born. The numbers are dropping today I suspect because of modern life. Computers are a lot cheaper to feed.

This is the governments way of hoping to keep the breed from becoming extinct or low numbers as they did when they shipped many off to the US after the war.

The Brabant comes in a variety of colors from sorrel, bay, blue and red roan, their feet are feathered with long hair, that can cause them problems here in all the moisture and sand.  They use to dock their tails but now they have passed a law against it. Some of the old farmers do not agree, but that is another post.

I ride my bike around our small village and know where every Brabant horse is in the area lives and have taken many photos of them at some time or another.

Photographing horses is a passion I have since I have moved from my passion to owning and showing them.  But I must admit the Brabant along with the Ardennes breed has become my favorites to photograph. I love these horses, and hope to have one in my back pasture one day. That's if  I ever quit traveling.