How strong is Your Passion to Learn Photography ?

How strong is Your Passion to Learn Photography ?

Many of you will know about my podcast, Tog-Talk.

In this week’s episode, I interview Alec Grant, a talented photographer I’ve had the pleasure of tutoring and whose journey has been nothing short of remarkable.

Alec and I have known each other for almost three years now. We first met in September 2020 when he joined our photography community. From the moment he started, it was clear that Alec’s photography was on a fast track to success, racing ahead to develop his photographic knowledge and skills at a breakneck speed.

An Ordinary Photographer’s Journey

I never tire of listening to photographers talk about their journeys.  I genuinely find stories about the ‘ordinary photographer’ just as interesting as the well-known and famous photographers.  Those with lucky breaks and huge talents don’t represent the average photographer.  Hearing their extraordinary stories does not always inspire, often it does just the opposite.  Their own particular journey to fame and fortune frequently seems beyond that of us mere mortals, their stores are exceptional, not normal.

I like normal – normal is something we can all aspire to (and relate to).  Listening to ‘ordinaries’ means we hear stories that are achievable, obtainable… and possible.

So, Alec is just like you and me, he shows us what is absolutely possible.  That’s why I like his story…

Back to Alec

Alec started off by telling me about how his passion for photography began in the ’80s and ’90s when he started taking family photos, portraits, and landscapes with a 35mm film camera, the Olympus OM10. He described the excitement of sending his films for processing and the thrill of getting a few keepers from each roll.

As time passed, Alec fell away from his early interests in photography and it wasn’t until his retirement that his enthusiasm truly ignited. Instead of pursuing his initial plan of playing golf, Alec wholeheartedly immersed himself in photography, eager to make the most of his newfound passion without waiting for years to see improvement.

One of the pivotal moments in Alec’s journey was when he discovered the Hampshire School of Photography. He found that the courses, particularly the Masterclass and Inner Circle programs, provided the knowledge and creative inspiration he had been seeking. These experiences, along with mentorship from internationally renowned photographer Joe McNally, allowed Alec to take his photography to new heights.   One of the images he shot whilst working with McNally is below

Alec went on to talk about the importance of knowing one’s camera inside out. Understanding the technical aspects and being able to manipulate settings with ease gave him more control over his images. His background in engineering initially made him more focused on technical aspects, but over time he developed a creative vision as well.

We talked a bit about Alec’s editing workflow, which involves starting with Lightroom for basic edits and then moving to Photoshop for more detailed work. He really seems to enjoy working in Photoshop as he explores the creative opportunities there.

Reflecting on his Personal Growth

Reflecting on his growth over the past three years, Alec expressed pride in his progress. He has seen significant improvements in his portraits, landscapes, and macro photography. While he enjoys exploring different genres, he also emphasised the value of preconceiving shots and having a clear vision before going out to shoot.

Throughout the conversation, Alec’s passion for learning and constant improvement shone through. He acknowledged that staying motivated can sometimes be challenging but emphasised the importance of soaking up knowledge and continually expanding one’s understanding of photography.

As we neared the end of our discussion, I asked Alec about his highest highs and lowest lows during his photography journey. He mentioned feeling proud of his accomplishments in the Inner Circle (one of my one-year training programs) and the opportunity to learn from Joe McNally. However, he also recalled a low point when he felt disappointed with the initial results from his new camera, realising he still had much to learn.

Alec continues to study with me, and in September he begins my one-year program focusing on capturing the human face.    (More about the Portrait course)

Tog-Talk podcast

This is obviously a super-quick summary of our conversation.  If you want to listen to the podcast episode in its entirety, check it out by clicking here.

Kevin Ahronson

Kevin is a full-time professional photographer and has been teaching photography since 2009. He founded the Hampshire School of Photography where he runs photography workshops and gives one to one mentoring to photographers at all levels, from complete beginners through to those who want to turn professional

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1 Response

  1. Keith Murrall says:

    Another interesting and informative conversation.
    Thank you both for taking the time to make and share this podcast. Already looking forward to the next episode?

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