Midnight City

This is the second post I’ve titled according to a song I’ve been listening to.

I’m not making it a routine, I’m just coming up a little short on creative titles.

The last couple of weeks have been slow but busy at the same time. Is that even possible? Seems to be. I’ve been trying to pull myself out of a dry spell I’ve slumped into since Christmas. I’ve been busy getting my stuff organized ie blogs, sites, portfolio and what not, but I  haven’t really been inspired to go out and shoot. I’m hoping something comes along to get me out. In the meantime I have been writting a short of biography on how I came to love photography, and my story so far. There’s this online community/ tutorial site called sevenbyfive where they welcome photographers to submit thier story along with a couple pics of thier work and they will showcase them as part of thier “photo profile”. They post it on twitter and thier site and it can draw a few people to you and your stuff. I figured it couldn’t hurt to send my story in and see how it goes. To give the few people that read my blog an idea of how I came to call myself a photographer, here you go;

My name is Alana Gentile, I am a Vancouver based photographer and this is my love story with Photography.

When I was younger I didn’t have much of an idea of what I was good at or what I was passionate about. It wasn’t until I was in Grade 11 that I discovered my love for Photography. As soon as I picked up the camera and took my first photo, I knew I was in love. Then, when the photo developed in the chemicals, I knew I wanted to become a photographer. I suddenly became passionate about something, and Photography was it. I was inspired when I saw the works of other Photographers, I constantly wanted to challenge myself in the field, and I found confidence in doing it all. I believe your calling will make itself known in due time, you just have to be patient enough for it to come. And there, standing in my high school darkroom watching the photo of a flower taken at an odd angle develop before my eyes, I knew my calling had made its presence known.

I found my niche doing sports photography in high school. Specifically photographing the football team. I saw the determination in the players’ faces during practice to constantly improve their game, and on game nights, I was in the chaos while coaches were yelling plays and the fans cheered on. I was able to capture the heart of a competitor through the photos I took. Unfortunately, It was a horrible 0-9 season for the team. To this day, almost 9 years later, one of my favorite photos from that season is of one of the players looking up at the scoreboard having just lost the game while steam was rising from his head (a mixture of his own body temperature and the cold weather outside). The photo made the yearbook titled, “Steamed after an 0-9 season.” It was my first “published” piece. It was with that photo that I learned that some of the most notable photos are the fluke shots we take. I hadn’t noticed the steam rising from the players’ head; it was a quick shot because after losing the last game of the season, he didn’t appreciate a camera in his face. It’s a rule that while we as photographers can’t always count on because there has to be some skill involved in this art, but it’s always an unexpected surprise and reminder that sometimes the best shots are indeed the flukes.

Unfortunately, when high school ended, I had the idea that I should be striving for a “real job”, something that would save me from becoming a “starving artist.” In essence, I lost my way with this idea, and to make a long and depressing story short and less depressing, I stepped back from focusing on my calling to try and figure out and a plan for my life. I went back to University after a three year hiatus majoring in Business Management, and as I was nearing the end of my university career, I was still at a loss for direction. When I finally picked up my camera again while trying to keep myself busy during a tough stretch, opportunities started coming my way. People started asking me to do their portraits, and even wedding photos. I realized I should never walked away from my passion, even though it ended up finding me again, still I should have stuck with it in the long run. I like to think of my journey with Photography as a sappy love story, girl falls in love with boy (or Photography), girl and boy (or photography) are torn apart, girl and boy (or photography) are reunited again in a dramatic epiphany where the balance seemed to be restored. That old saying that goes, “if you love something, set it free. If it comes back it’s yours” rings true for me and my passion for Photography.

Since then, Photography has become a huge part in my life again. I am constantly inspired by the work of others, and I am finding ways to improve my work, weather it’s attending classes, talking with other photographers, whatever I can do to better myself and my work I am open to doing it. I have been told that my natural creativity gives a quiet beauty to my work while I have perfect composition skills.

In addition, I love working with people, and I love hearing their stories being that I am people person. But for me, nothing is more intimidating than having a camera in my face and worrying about being photographed on a bad angle. I take pride in creating completely natural photographs, while encompassing their story through their portraits. I also love sports, I loved my time shooting football (despite it being a horrible season) and capturing the complex emotion of a competitor, my hope is to continue with sports photography, maybe moving onto hockey seeing as I come from a family of hockey fanatics and being a fanatic myself. Traveling is another passion of mine, I love visiting new places, and experiencing other cultures. I also love wondering in my own neck of the woods; nothing inspires me more than walking through the streets of Downtown Vancouver and capturing the city’s most notable areas, and I hope I can one day expand my cultural knowledge and explore new places.

All in all, I hope to take every opportunity and turn it into a learning experience. It’s often the things that we don’t do that we regret, and since picking up my camera, and taking every opportunity handed to me, I’ve regretted nothing and learned so much from it all. I hope to continue to explore my one true love. Photography. 

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