You're probably reading this because you want to know a bit about me and the "why" behind my photography. I'm going to try really hard to avoid having this sound like a pile of b.s. That is the tricky part about "About" pages—and I hope to combine sincerity with the information you want to know.
You can read everything, or you can scroll to the section(s) you're interested in. You'll also find some links to other pages on my website that expand even more on a couple topics for those who enjoy reading/seeing more.
My journey is to create photography that is about something, not of something. Whether consciously or not, I ask myself, what do I want this image to feel like?
It's my responsibility to find the best way to present the meaning of what I'm interpreting with my camera. My vision collaborates with the camera (and the endless variety of shutter speeds, apertures, focal lengths, and compositions) and the digital darkroom to create meaningful images.
Photographing nature is my first love, especially flowers. Whether beautiful, ugly, colorful, full of texture, or completely subtle in how they look, they still present challenges to me to photograph them in different ways. In addition to nature, conceptual “visual analogy” photography opens up a whole new world where imagination reigns. It lets me expand my creativity beyond nature, while often still including it.
The process of photographing is very freeing for me. Creating images brings me the illusion of control, but also can open me to new ideas when I can't control what I envision. Creating an image allows me to express ideas or emotions much like an actor can when they become another character; I can express beauty, sadness, or anything I want, which can be very liberating. I also derive a revitalizing energy from the entire process of my art: from idea to the shutter clicking to creativeness on the computer. For me, there's nothing better.
Why do I pick up a camera?
I wrote a blog post that still resonates with me as to why I do what I do, so I'll link to it here if you'd like to read more in depth on this topic of "why".
Are my images real? If you mean are they exactly what I saw when standing there? The short answer, is no. As a fine art nature photographer, I am not limited to a literal interpretation of what is in front of me. Just like a painter isn't limited to paint exactly what is in front of her. My nature photography is a combination of reality, and my vision and creativity. And for people, I provide realistic digital cosmetic improvements when needed—soften wrinkles, eliminate that pimple, maybe nudge that sagging chin ever so slightly. You will look like you! Not some plastic doll.
In college, I Ioved so many different classes. I have a varied college transcript because of my diverse interests. And three degrees because, guess what, I love learning! That hasn't changed. I would characterize myself as self-taught, but that is a little misleading. I didn't go to college for photography. But I have taken many online photography classes, read books, attended workshops, and learned from my fellow photographers. So it is with the knowledge of others that I've come to where I am today. Plus a lot of trial and error.
Photography continually challenges me, both technically and creatively. So at least now I have one avenue (that has enough variety) to engage my desire for learning and growth. Today, I divide my photographic interests between flowers and nature, conceptual photography, and portraits. I tried to focus on just one, but I'm happiest when I can have the variety.
Flowers and Nature
My interest in this kind of photography is hard to pin down as to when it started. I can think back to some pretty film images I took in a park during college. But then the camera is set aside for other pursuits (like education, a job). But I can tell you when the fire re-emerged. I was taking a required photography class back around 2007 for the Advertising Design major I pursued. I. LOVED. IT. So off I went to buy my first DSLR and a few lenses. And taking more and more images. Taking online classes. Going to workshops. Paying attention to light. To shadow. It's an ongoing thing, whether I have a camera in my hands or not. (Every now and then, you can hear me say, "Ohhhh, look at that light. Isn't it beautiful?")
Photography provides me with a connection to nature that I didn't really have before. I love the beauty of it. I hope that passion shows in all my images. And when I'm behind the camera, no matter what I'm photographing, it's truly like the rest of the world falls away except for what is in front of me.
I didn't set out to classify some of my work as conceptual, but I took a class (which led to part two of the class) called Conveying Concepts, Feelings, and Stories in Photography (at the Bryan Peterson School of Photography) which got me to see things differently. My initial thinking was that this would help me improve my nature photography. What this class opened up for me was to see a lot of my older images in a new way. Plus, to keep an eye out for situations that told stories—happy, sad, scary, murderous, or mysterious stories. The visual themes of many of my conceptual images is the flip side of the pretty nature images I create. I love reading mystery novels, so I gravitate towards creating images that are on the "darker side" of life. My conceptual stock photography images are available exclusively through Arcangel Images.
Portraits is only listed last because of the limited number of sessions I have available each year. Not because it occupies a lower status in my mind.
I believe hiring a photographer is a personal experience for you.
It was for me.
A few years ago I wanted professional images taken of my family and my dog, and finding a photographer who's style I liked wasn't easy. At first she wasn't sure I'd be a good fit for her, because her specialty was moving in a different direction than family photography. But after a few heart-felt emails on my part, she agreed. I'm so glad she did! I have beautiful images, that I'll treasure always. I know that's a cliche, but it's true!
It's personal. Whether you're behind the camera or in front of it.
If you're reading this, you might be interested in seeing my portfolio of portrait images, plus some other information about hiring me as your photographer. If you're still interested after checking everything out, then let's get together in a casual location to see if we'll work well together.
This is the part where I think I'm really boring, because what do I say?
I'm not Wonder Woman, but wouldn't those bracelets be cool?
I'm not overly mean or kind. Can you be overly kind? I suppose the phrase "kill them with kindness" came from somewhere.
I'm one of those people who like tofu.
I think it's ok to wear leather. I respect others who feel otherwise.
I painted a cat yellow in kindergarten. (Not a real cat. One on paper.)
I think the f-word makes a wonderful embellishment to good, bad, and funny things; but I try to be respectful about using it, as not everyone appreciates the word like I do. (But I did agree to be hired as a photographer because my soon-to-be portrait client used that word (it wasn't directed at me), then quickly apologized. I said, "really, it's ok." )
I love to travel. But I also love to stay home.
I really love to people watch and make up stories to myself about their lives and personalities. As an introvert, that is far less tiring than being at a party having to interact with a bunch of people. Extroverts will not understand that.
My superpower is to make people smile. Sometimes that superpower goes on vacation.
As you maybe noticed, I do have a pretty good sense of humor that ranges from silly to dark. But I must have a weird sense of humor overall, as sometimes things that other people think are funny, I don't. And vice versa.
I'm a dog person. But if I could only have a cat, I probably would.
My photography dream is sitting in a field of beautiful poppies with my camera.
Rather than making this page even longer, if this is something you're interested in, I've created a page dedicated to my process. I foresee that page being updated frequently to more accurately talk about what I do. It's actually really difficult for me to define how I'm thinking. After enough years of doing something, I just do. Often thinking comes later.
Fine art nature photography by Barb Kellogg, a central Minnesota artist.
Enjoy the view! © 2016 Barb Kellogg, All Rights Reserved. Commercial use and distribution of the contents of the website is not allowed without express and prior written consent of Barb Kellogg.
CONTACT INFORMATION: hello@BarbKelloggPhotography.com PO Box 227, Avon, MN 56310 (320) 493-8883