Image with permission from Sandra Favre-Byles
Every time I finish a workshop, I marvel at the people who are a part of them – thoughtful and kind, as well as excellent photographers in their own right. They all seem to have a thirst to continue to grow and evolve, and to do it with others. We really do learn from each other.
So, I thought I would start to feature some of these wonderful people on this blog – to show you their work, and allow them to tell their photography story.
First up is Sandra Favre-Byles, who hails from Switzerland. Sandra has been a part of my Photo By Design, 50mm Project, Going Abstract, and Keeping It Simple workshops (sometimes multiple times).
Not only is she a stunning photographer, it is obvious that she is a contemplative at heart, and always a kind supporter of others. She makes my work in the groups easier with her beautiful examples and supportive comments.
Meet Sandra Favre-Byles
K: How and when did you get started in photography and what drew you to this medium?
S: In 2005, I bought my first point and shoot digital camera and that’s when I started really being interested in photography. Seeing photos on the big screen of my computer showed me the real beauty of the scenes I was capturing. I knew then that photography had entered my life on a whole new level, even with that first simple little camera: a Canon Digital IXUS 50 point and shoot.
Before then, my photography had been limited to taking pictures of family or on holiday or of my garden. It was more about recording memories and moments rather than an art form, which is what I consider it to be now.
K: Describe your evolution as a photographer. Who are your mentors?
S: When I decided to buy my first DSLR camera, I knew nothing about the settings and was even reluctant to look into that part of things! So, for nearly a year I was still in automatic mode! It was time to learn the basics.
I bought the book Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson, and also took an online group class to practice what I was learning and receive critiques from our teacher. Then, I had more control over how I wanted my images to look. I could feel at that point that the pictures I was taking were evolving, there was more depth and meaning to them; more emotion.
I took my first photo class with Kat Sloma. I learnt a lot from her and am grateful to her for helping me find my eye. She also gave me confidence to be who I am.
I am also very grateful to you, Kim, for having created photography workshops that correspond so well to my own aspirations. Your style speaks to my own way of interpreting what I see and feel. Your workshops push me to go further, delve deeper and develop and widen my visual capacities. Through you, I have been able to evolve into a simpler and more contemplative style which suits so well my inner philosophy and the way I like to see the world around me.
K: Why do you photograph and what types of subjects are your favourites?
S: I take photographs because I am touched by something. It is often the mood of a scene which pulls me in, something which tells a story or the sheer beauty of something which takes my breath away.
My first love has always been about capturing nature, I also love doing macro very much and reflections have always held a deep fascination for me. Lighting is very important too and light and shade create a magic all of their own which I love to capture.
Since I have been doing your classes Kim, I have learned to enjoy street photography, abstracts, and especially simplicity. The simpler things are, the more they touch my heart and soul. The simplicity reveals the essence of the subject photographed. The subjects I choose and the way I like to capture them also reveal my own essence.
K: Do you sell your work? If so, where can we find it? Where do you most like to post your work online?
S: I have never sold my work, I’ve never thought about it so far! I mostly like to post on my own blog online. I also post on Flickr when I’m doing a workshop.
Thank you, Kim, for giving me the opportunity of speaking here. It’s been a pleasure to answer your questions and it has helped me define who I am as a photographer and allowed me to recognize certain aspects of myself which I hadn’t really considered before.
Photography has taught me to see and experience my life’s journey from many different angles; it has widened my horizons, lured me out of my comfort zones and I love the fact that I’m still learning and evolving and exploring different areas thanks to this art form which came into my life to give it new meaning.
K: I highly recommend that you take a look at Sandra’s blog, Reflections and Nature, where in each post, she takes you on a journey with her through her images.
Why not do this exercise and answer these questions for yourself? Like Sandra said, it might help you see your own evolution better.