Photography Talks – Norma Davis

Thursday, October 11th, 2012|Advice, Elexu Team Posts, Interviews|by HernanVales

Today’s post comes from Intern Hernan who got the chance to interview lawyer/photographer Norma Davis who talks about her passion.

Norma Davis is a New Jersey based photographer and lawyer.

Tell us a bit about yourself as a photographer?

I´m based in New Jersey and have always loved to take pictures. When I went to high school I started to get a formal training, getting to know a bit more about photography. My first serious work about photography consisted in taking pictures for the high school newspaper which acted a gateway to the photography I conduct today.

My first equipment was a 35mm camera bought by my mother which allowed me to take black and white pictures and colour, experiment with them and start to know the possibilities that photography can bring to life.

What do you think about the transformation from film to digital?

At the beginning, what you could get out of the dark room wasn’t the same you could get out of the digital, but after all these technology advances in the past years, it´s fine, there is no a technology gap anymore. Now whatever you can get from film you can get it from digital and if not with different programmes you can enhance photos to different levels of creativity, so that´s why I was looking forward to it, because at the beginning photography was more difficult but now everyone can do it. I hated the dark room but now the technology has caught up with the quality I have gone completely digital.

As a result, did it impact your images or post production? What do you spend most of your time in taking photos?

I take a lot more pictures now cause with film was expensive, but nowadays it´s easier. I spend a lot of time editing images, that´s the biggest difference, now I take much more pictures than before.

What type of photo or style best describes your interests?

Probably people. I did some landscapes but my images are mostly people in an informal manner. I take lots of pictures in a documentary way, trying to reflect how people´s personality changes or how do they age. Whatever happens in a moment I try to capture it, whatever it is.

Colour or black and white?

Black and white, for sure.

Why such a strong preference?

Because it´s much more beautiful than colour, you really focus on the picture, there is no distraction. I like colour but even with lots of my colour pictures I turn them into black and white. It´s long process to convert them though, so I prefer to shoot them in BW. I shoot colour because a lot of people prefer colour images.

How do you class yourself as a photographer? Professional, commercial, enthusiast, amateur…?

Professional enthusiast, I do work professionally about the skills, but I don’t want the work to ruin the love I’ve got for photography.

Are there any words of wisdom about the business of photo, since Elexu focuses on help youngsters in focusing on their goals and careers, what can you offer them about this business apart from the passion?

If you can take a business course because photography can become a business. It´s not just taking pictures: you have to have a client agenda, launch a website and be able to have jobs coming in. In order for the people to hire you they have to know about you and see your port-folio, how do you work, what market are you in… if you want to do commercial photography you want to set up a studio, or do portraits, you have to educate yourself about the business.

Sometimes you just take a picture and it looks great, but that´s not the norm, the norm is that you have to know the camera. You have to know how it works, what lighting it captures… it’s like an eye but the eye is a million times better so you have to practise to become proficient.

Tell us about your inspirations?

Ansel Adams. I saw him for the first time in the library when I was young, and I was just amazed about what he did. And he printed all his pictures, and that´s an important fact, because in photography you have to be a good photographer but also a good printer, he was both, now it´s much easier, but in that time, you really have to admire it.

Steve McUrry, if someone said my work is like his that would be a compliment for me.

What would you say for encouraging a young photographer wanting to pursuit his dreams, what would you say?

Go to school. Learn as much as you can and once you are out try to make the best of it. It´s a hard work but if it´s what you love you can do it. Take lots of pictures, take pictures of what you love not things that you think someone else would like, If you take pictures of what you love it will show up in your photography, photo’s reflect personality.