On Photography Growth; Visiting my Personal Work
A photo essay
Sometimes life gives us a lot on our plate, and we forget to take a moment to appreciate what is in front of us.
I have not been interested in photographing for others for a while since I left New York.
I feel content photographing for myself. One day, I want to share the images I make with my children when they are old enough to understand and appreciate photographs.
This contentment is something that a lot of people seek in life and photography.
It could be balanced or finding more about who we are. It may be forgiving those in our lives that have caused us pain.
It may be letting go of fears and leading with our authentic voice.
It rains a lot in the Andes.
The clouds are one of my favorite things to witness.
I will never forget the first time I flew into Colombia from Miami on how the clouds seemed to eat the mountaintops.
An eternal magical feeling of something more significant in nature taking over something else that is very large also.
I have been fascinated with them ever since.
I often sit on the balcony and meditate while listening to the mountain.
Or the mountain is a metaphor for the challenges I face.
Yet on many days, the clouds play hide and seek with the mountains.
I am thankful I have my beautiful wife, an incredibly talented photographer.
I would not remember to document myself without her, as most photographers do.
She reminds me that being present is an essential part of the journey and that one day when we show our children these images, I will be there too, not just behind the camera.
There is a lot of nature to explore.
I needed to be at the pulse of a thriving city to find things that inspired me to make images.
I realize that no matter where I am now, I can find something — and document and pay homage to what is in front of me.
My photographs are for me first and foremost, and they are not everyone’s style. I’m ok with that.
There was one point in my life when I chased algorithms.
These days, I share honest and transparent thoughts in hopes of helping my photo-coaching students find their way.
Many people want to be popular, and my teaching style is not for them.
Sure, I am happy to help you if you are a beginner. I love connecting with beginner photographers.
Yet, if you decide to hire me as your photography coach, expect more from me than sharing how to be popular with you.
Good things come to those who are patient, persistent, and passionate about who THEY are. Not to those that follow trends, algorithms, or the influence of others.
And my job as your coach is to inspire you by helping you find yourself in your photographs so that you can find your way.
The most significant challenge I face as a photographer these days is the challenge I face within myself.
The struggle to get outside of my own comfort zone.
To find the thing that lights a fire and drives me, yet does not follow — in hopes that it speaks and communicates.
The locks that block the innermost gates of my psyche are robust.
And through photography, one by one, I discover how to open the next door.
I still have a strong affinity for textures.
Ever since I was a student back at the University of Michigan, I have.
It may remind me of my home in Detroit. Growing up, I explored so many abandoned spaces with my camera that had these beautiful dilapidated textures.
And my friends and I made art from the ruin that we found.
Sometimes my love for photographing textures is a rebellion in my own mind.
A rebellion against all of the urgency to find something “perfect” in photography as many try.
I always have had a thing against popular culture, and my stance on photography is no different.
Give me something authentic and genuine any day over popular for popularity and sheep.
I don’t know if I believe in reincarnation or not.
I was raised Christian, yet sometimes you feel that you are experiencing something or someone familiar.
My wife and family gave me a new kitten for my birthday this year.
He is surprisingly the spitting image of my beloved Boris that I had living in Michigan that I lost one day to a traffic accident.
I was devastated on the day that my original Boris got hit, and a woman brought him to the door of the house.
I could hear his meow telling me that everything would be ok as he passed.
Maybe he came back to me in this new kitten?
The new Boris Jr. has many of the same personality traits as my original cat. It is uncanny.
The one setback that I must do is to train the new kitten how to be less vocal.
He sure is a talker and likes to join in on video calls with students or important meetings in the background.
One of my favorite experiences visiting Colombia is the cable cars going up and down the mountains.
They remind me of being in Disney World with my family when I was around 5 or 6.
You could also travel across Disney World in the Magic Kingdom on a cable car.
I always got a kick out of looking down from above at what happened below.
Some things just don’t change — and some do.
One day my wife and I set out for a hike with our cameras.
She had forgotten her memory card for her camera in her laptop and was bummed that she would not be able to shoot.
Generally, in my D750, I keep two cards. Yet, lately, I have been fond of shooting with a Sony RX100 that fits in my pocket for all these images.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my D750.
Still, it is difficult to carry a large, expensive camera in areas where people have desperate lives due to political and other conditions out of their control.
My wife always tells me to keep my eyes on the back of my head.
This is nothing new for me growing up in Detroit in very run-down areas.
So when my wife forgot her memory card, we stopped halfway up the mountain at one of the stations to see if a store had one.
As we stopped, I saw a beautiful sculpture of the Mother of Jesus, Mary.
There are a lot of these around Colombia where people stop to pray.
I pledged tithe and entered my coins in my pocket as I asked for safe passage and a pleasant day for our adventure.
And after we finished locating the memory card, we stopped at a restaurant with a view for refreshments for a moment.
I decided it was a day for a beer, and as I sat there sipping, I saw this bird stop for a rest.
I made a handful of images of it as I finished my beer, and we parted ways on our journey.
Sometimes you have a bad day.
I am no different.
I had a day when I got up relatively early and traveled almost an hour for a meeting.
My wife traveled with me to ensure I was not lost and that I arrived and returned safely.
We stood and waited for over 45 minutes without speaking from the individual we were meeting.
Finally, we gave up and left as it was clear that no event was happening this day.
We stopped at a cafe that we had never stopped at before, and I ordered an Americano.
Let’s just say it was one of the strongest Americanos I have ever experienced.
Sometimes life signals that you need a swift kick in the ass to change your outlook.
After the coffee, the day sure turned around for the better.
It is just a reminder that we can always change our attitude and outlook by taking a breather.
I hope you have enjoyed my personal essay.
I always tell my students that I can’t ask them to go out into the world to photograph if I can’t share my work.
And these are a couple of peaceful days I enjoy before my brand new 30-day photography boot camp launches.
I will be sharing many tips, tricks, and lessons that you can repeat in your photography as often as you like here on Medium, on my podcast, and on Youtube.
My goal with this boot camp is to get you shooting no matter what level of photographer you are.
It does not matter if you are a beginner or a pro.
I promise that I have something that you can learn from these lessons.
Starting December 1st, you will want to make sure that you are subscribed to follow me at the following:
Anchor: https://anchor.fm/charlie-naebeck (the podcast is also available on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, and where podcasts live).
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/charlienaebeck (go like and subscribe please. I re-opened my channel recently).
I am very excited to share with you all what is in store.
And after you start the boot camp, don’t forget to register at https://shareapicturemagazine.com to share your photos and write about them. I have hand-built a fantastic group of photographers there, and I would also love to invite you to share.
If I can help you with your photography in any way, please don’t hesitate to book a call with me at https://calendly.com/cnpcall/onehour.
Thanks for reading, and see you for Day 1 of my photography boot camp on December 1st!
Hi, I am Charlie Naebeck
I am a husband, photography coach, photographer, writer, podcaster, Youtuber, entrepreneur, and adventurer.
If you like what you read, please consider giving me a follow here on Medium.
I do Zoom photo coaching with students in over 42 different countries, and I would love to help you to inspire you with your photography goals also.
If you want to chat about photography coaching, let’s jump on a complimentary call together at: https://calendly.com/cnpcall/30min.
On Photography Growth; Visiting my Personal Work was originally published in Share a Picture Magazine.com on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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