November 20, 2011

A Look Through My Lens, Part 5

A Look Through My Lens is an ongoing series on That GOOD GOOD Blog which features awe-inspiring photographers from all over the world. I have had the absolute privilege of interviewing 10 photographers thus far through this series and today I have 2 more amazing additions to the ‘A Look Through My Lens’ family. Please enjoy the stories of Andre Wagner from New York and Xavier Burgin from Tuscaloosa, Alabama as they share about their passions for their art forms and where their love for photography all began.

I've been shooting digital for almost two years now. What initially caught my interest was black and white photos and film development. I took a black and white film class in college for my initial interactions.
For my personal work, I would say it's more about portraits. But I also shoot some fashion look-books, editorials, and lifestyle photography.

I would definitely say lifestyle, real and meaningful are words that define my photography. For me it's really more about capturing the feeling and emotion than creating it.
In most of my photos people are the most important element. People just draw me and I love deciding on what still should live on forever.

Gordon Parks is my all time favorite. The way he captured beauty in his era was amazing. He was multi-talented by also being recognized as a painter, music composer, and a writer. His personal story is also something that people can relate to and realize they too can do whatever it is they work for. He was also the first African American Vogue fashion photographer breaking the mold for younger generations like myself.
I'm currently using a Nikon D7000. I've started with Nikon so it just makes sense to me.


What set me into photography was (first and foremost) film. I'm a film production major at The University of Alabama and I was going through stasis period of what I really wanted to do with myself. I started out believing I wanted to fashion myself as a new-age writer, but that fell through once I realized I wanted so much more. I started looking for something that involved the creation of stories while pushing an idea to wider audience. That's when film and screenwriting became my focus. From there, I knew if I was going to learn anything about the art-form I needed to dive in both the literary and cinematographic areas of film.  The first REAL device I picked up was a FLIP camera that only did video. Now that I look back on it I've jumped light years ahead, but it's interesting to see how my mode of progress and equipment changed. I took the Flip everywhere with me and used it to document my entire time at the Cannes Film Festival plus catch footage for my first short film (which I laugh about now). I also used it to pick up random footage to play with in media lab library. Some nights I would be there so long the assistants would have to ask me to leave. Once I started getting better with making really short videos I started counting ducks and saving my money up till I could buy the camera I wanted. Unfortunately, I kept on getting hit with setback after setback till the point I thought I'd never get enough money to buy my first camera. My pops watched all of this behind the scenes and gave me a lifesaving proposition. If I could at least save up half the money he'd go in with the rest plus helping me with equipment. I snatched the offer and ran with it and we finally picked a camera up.
If had to summarize my photos I would say they are "Random Ideas In Progress." That just means I'm still learning many of the in and outs of photography and I'm doing this on my own. Whether I'm reading a book or scouring the internet I'm just testing and re-trying everything I do. I want my photography to represent a testament of my growth. I want people to say my photographs have grown with me. As I mature, the relevance and craft of my work should age as well. My type of photos would be "growing pains" in a way. As for what I'm into, it's anything and everything. I've done a few photoshoots, but they are for my enjoyment and the model's benefit. I'm not looking for monetary gain. I just want to post interesting pictures on my website. Aside from the virtual randomness that is my desire for photography I end up taking a lot of personal photography dealing with my family. It's probably one of the best ways I've reconnected back with them along with giving me something tangible to look through. A good example of this is a good batch of photographs I took my grandparents just for myself. I'll probably post them soon, but they have literally never been photographed years...or at least not in a way that truly focuses on their person. That made a big difference for me. My photos just seems to either be spur of the moment or personal insights that clarify who I am.

3 words that describe my photography are random, personal, and puberty.
 My best photos have been ones of children. Even in a closed environment where I've asked them to do something a kid will always have that something about him or her that compels them to do what they want. This isn't a bad thing though. It's given me some of my most interesting pieces.

I use a Canon T2i (550D)rebel with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and a 18-55mm f/4. I'm still a work in progress so this is still my first camera, but I definitely see nothing wrong with it. Before I upgrade to anything else I want to fully understand the ins and outs of my work. I honestly believe a person with mastery in an area and outdated equipment will beat a novice in a field with the best technology. I want to be that old master in a way.
 One of my favorites is Philippe Halsman. He was able to influence the best of both worlds. He not only was able to work with great actors during his age, but he also was given open fields to work in a creative manner all of his won. I'll just say this. Go look him up and check out his work known as "Jump" pictures. It definitely gives you an idea of how a simple idea can make such an important impact.


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  1. Another wonderful post Dee, absolutely it. wonderful people you chose here and beautiful work.

  2. Awesome post. Great models and beautiful handy art work

  3. oh dear, she's really good behing that lens <3

    awesome picture,s very inspiring :)

  4. Anonymous11/23/2011

    how amazing! I love this post :)

  5. Anonymous11/23/2011

    Quite stunning blog, my dear. I am really drawn to this photography. Both of the photographers have their own distinctive style which is so apparent in these photos, and I enjoyed reading their commentary. Really great work.

  6. that photo with the girl's hair being tousled up by 'Que the Lights'. WOW. excellent!

  7. i wanna be his muse. I just posted about your site on my blog

  8. the photographers are very good.i love these photos

  9. the photographers are very good.i love these photos..and i like this article too

  10. great photos!! a very elaborate post as always. xoxo

  11. Head wrap, backless, by the it ;-)

    Confessions of a Purse-a-holic

  12. Thank you all for your feedback!!

  13. LOVE THIS SERIES! Both of these photographers are amazing. I had already heard of Andre Wagner but Xavier Burgin's work is new to me. Thanks so much for introducing me though, his work is incredible.

  14. love it, doll! great work here.


  15. I follow abstract elements on tumblr. He's amazing!

    Muse Origins FB


  17. Hi,

    Thank you for your nice article on that good good blog. It will help me.


  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. This is absolutely amazing. These photos are great!

    Thanks for sharing, Dee!

  20. These photos really make me wonder what all I can do with my camera lol, I have the same kind that Xavier uses!

  21. Such beautiful photos!!


  22. Thanks for the S/O to Que The Lights. It's crazy to see where I was and where I am now. It's funny, I was finally able to buy a better camera but I still try to use the one I did these photos with often to remind me where I started.

    Much love to TGGB!
    Que The Lights
    QTL Images

  23. wow...awesome photos.i like that little girls photo.and i love this article to.

  24. havent the entire post yet but love the story on que the lights photography so inspiring for me at least. Great post D it had that GOOD GOOD.

  25. Anonymous12/10/2011

    Loved this post, ahh! the photography amazin' --!!
    Hows the NIKON D7000 im usin' the D3100 still gettin' used to it



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