my WHY. part one of my reflections on "the art of authentic posing" workshop by justin and mary. / by Cheryl Lukasewich

If you follow me at all here on my blog or on my Aeris facebook page you know that my heart and brain are bursting with new and exciting information after having attended 2 workshops hosted by photography duo Justin and Mary in Cannon Beach, Oregon. I previously blogged some tidbits that I learned about off-camera flash and today I'm moving on to some of what I learned from the second workshop, "The Art of Authentic Posing." There are many things I learned from taking this class (I'm pretty sure I'll be digesting that information for quite some time) but the HUGEST thing I took away from this class is actually a challenge to identify and understand my way of thinking; the way and reason I photograph couples. My "Why."

At the beginning of the day Mary asked us to think of our own "Why": Why do we do photography in the first place? Why do we shoot What we do and How we do? My first reaction requires a bit of back story so bear with me if you're interested:

I wasn't someone who starting playing with a camera when I was 3, nor someone who recognized some "calling" after participating in photography classes in high school. Yes, I played around with my dad's old film camera with some friends during a few get togethers in junior high but that was more about playing around with fashion (90's fashion... :/) and makeup. After high school, with no clue what I wanted to do, I applied, was accepted, and went to work at a Mexico orphanage for 6 months. I loved my time there and fell in love with caring for infants (which had been my assignment in the orphange nursery). When I came home I thought about possibly pursuing neonatal nursing - long story short - as much as I love babies I didn't actually want to pursue that. I ended up taking general, university-transfer classes at a local Bible school hoping that along the way I'd have some clue what other program I could apply those classes to when I made up my mind. I'm a pretty empathetic (read: emotional) person so I ended up choosing Social Work, thinking/hoping it would be a good fit. I graduated two years later with a Social Work diploma, got my RSW designation, applied for some jobs, interviewed for one then immediately proceeded to get in my car and cry, terrified that they'd call and offer me the job. I should have known that social work wasn't for me - I really struggled with (aka pretty much hated) my practicums in the field - but I wanted to feel like I had FOUND something, you know??

Fast forward a bit: I was desperate for SOMETHING to be passionate about - a hobby, an interest, ANYTHING. I was venting my frustrations to a friend one day who challenged me to think about what I liked playing around with when I was young - before life decisions came into the picture. I recalled those few times that my friends and I dressed up in junior high - how I took their photos and actually liked them enough to frame them and put them up on my wall. I figured "Why not?" and went out that day, on a whim, and bought my first camera. There's a lot more to this story but again, long story short, I taught myself how to shoot in manual and the love story, and my WHY, began.

It is my personal belief that photography, this crazy thing that I love, is a gift from God JUST FOR ME. I believe God had photography in mind for me my whole life and waited until I as ready as can be to open up and reveal it. I think God DELIGHTS to pour out on his kids and that He has a rich inheritance for each of us to receive THROUGHOUT our lives! The name “Aeris” actually came from my belief that God gave me part of my inheritance early and I’m an “heiress” (get it? Aeris!) of the good things he has for me!

So my WHY? Why do I do photography? The only word that came to me was DELIGHT :)

Have a look at some images I took during the hands-on portion of "The Art of Authentic Posing." All of these images are taken from poses set-up by Mary Marantz (literally, I'm shooting right beside her). All credit for posing goes to her. After her demonstrations we had time to practice what we had learned and set up our own posing but I'll blog those separately.

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