Before and After #5: Bradley Lanphear
My name is Bradley Lanphear. 30 years old. Married to my wife Janna for 7 years and we have two very energetic little boys.
I got started in photography about 11 years ago, inspired by a couple friends of mine who were hobby photographers at the time. At first it was just something I did for fun because I liked the sense of nostalgia and meaning that accompanied documenting everyday life.
If you had asked me back then what I would be doing 10 years later, being a full-time photographer wouldn’t have even been on my radar. Taking pictures would have been, but not as a full time profession and certainly not doing weddings. If anything, I would have thought that I’d try to be an adventure/travel photographer. I was always very inspired by the images I saw in Nat Geo, and photojournalism in general. I got started doing weddings in 2010 when the economy was really bad and I got laid off from my old job doing construction. My wife and I talked and prayed and decided that it was time to do something with this passion of mine. We figured that weddings were still a fairly stable market since people get married no matter the state of the economy. I buried myself for about a year in studying, watching video tutorials and just taking pictures of anything and everything. I practically begged people to let me photograph them. I gave away more photos for free than I got paid for, but little by little we picked up some momentum and after about a year of living on my wife’s income while I dedicated myself to building a sustainable business, we finally went full time in 2011.
2015 will be our 6th year in business and if I can be a little honest and vulnerable here among other creatives, weddings aren’t doing it for me anymore. It’s been a good run and we’ve gotten to work with some pretty cool clients, but in general I find myself too often taking the same pictures over and over and it’s just not fulfilling that part of my soul that craves creativity and adventure. We decided towards the end of 2014 that we’re going to start transitioning out of weddings and pursue other avenues that provide more opportunity to do the things that make me feel alive. I’ve always been a firm believer that if you want to keep yourself from getting burned out, you have to shoot a lot of personal work. I just haven’t been making time for that. That’s something thats going to change this year. I have a few personal projects already in mind that I’m excited to dig into. One of those projects is growing myself personally through teaching photography. I recently started a new website which I am devoting to teaching photography. Not because I think that I’m such an expert, but because the best way to learn a subject is to teach it. There’s a lot more in photography that I want to learn and I’m going to share it as I go. Also, it gives me more reason to shoot projects for myself instead of just for clients.
Here’s two quotes that have recently kept me thinking a lot about my motivations.
“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
“A good photographer loves life more than photography.”
I don’t really know how to end this except to say that life is good and I want to live it well.
The story behind this photo:
This is from an engagement session in NYC. We don’t live in a big city, so on the occasions when we get to visit, I love to try to capture some good street images. There’s this old guy who spends his days sitting in this park feeding the pigeons. There was an enormous flock gathered around and it doesn’t matter how many times you startle them, they always come right back. The moment I saw this, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It took a few tries to get it right, but fortunately the birds didn’t mind resetting for us. 🙂 Gotta love New York!