Journey to Artist: Along the Way
by Kate Bragg
Nothing about photography has come easily to me. I did not start out with any intuitive knowledge for how to use a camera, or an inherent ability to understand composition and styling. I thought of myself as creative but not artistic. It’s taken me years of practice to learn the technical aspects of photography. It’s taken even longer to have a clear vision of what I want to create, and what I want to say with my art.
Early on in this journey, I knew I was drawn to food and still-life photography. After I got over the initial guilt of realizing that I preferred to photograph inanimate objects instead of my precious children, I took classes, studied, and practiced. It was a messy business, both figuratively and literally. Thankfully, my husband is a patient and supportive man, and has never once complained about the mess in the kitchen or my failed baking experiments that have all happened in the name of pursuing my love of food photography. He has always been there to talk me down from the emotionally messy side of learning a craft and pursuing a dream, and for that I am grateful.
While I was learning a lot on the technical side, I was plagued by the concern that I didn’t really have a clear vision of what I wanted to create. I most certainly did not feel like an artist. I didn’t know what it meant to express yourself through your art. I remember being asked “what are you trying to say?” and wanting to scream “I have no idea!” in response. I was afraid that I didn’t have anything to say, that I didn’t really have a vision. I would feel ridiculous trying to figure out what I wanted to say with a photo of banana bread. Was saying “this is a tasty banana bread” not enough?
It turns out that sometimes that is enough, but most of the time it isn’t. I discovered, with the help of some excellent instructors, that what I want to express through my food and still life photography is the sense of peace and contentment that I associate with a well-lived life. I want to share the quiet moments and the convivial gatherings. I want to convey the world in my head, which is filled with old farmhouses, rolling pastures, bucolic countryside, wood stoves, gardens, copious cups of coffee, and muffins for breakfast every, single day. My world is somewhere in the mid-18th century, but with modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and home furnishings stores, to supply my never-ending need for attractive coffee mugs. I have learned a lot about what it is that draws me to an image, the feelings that I want to create, and that has helped me to not only find, but refine, my vision.
I need not have worried that I didn’t have a vision. We all do, it just sometimes takes a while to develop. In retrospect, I’ve always had this vision, it just showed up in different ways. Now I have photography as a medium to express my vision and I am thankful for it. I am refining it every day, and learning the skills I need to bring it to life. More importantly, I am learning to embrace that I am an artist – always have been, always will be.
Name: Kate Bragg
Business Name: Kate Bragg Photography
Location: Winterport, Maine, United States
Social Links: (IG) Kate Bragg Photo