09 Jan Photography 101 By Barbara Stitzer for Boomeryearbook.com
for Boomeryearbook.com by Barbara Stitzer
Hi, I’m Barbara Stitzer, and in the following weeks, I’m going to tell you everything that you never knew you wanted to know about photography. I’ve been a photographer for the past 15 years. I was a model for ten, and a soap opera for three, and when my mom came down with lung cancer, I went to stay with her while I decided what I wanted to do with my life. Well, things got really sad, and I bought a Canon AE1 manual film camera to keep my mind off it. There’s a riverbed behind my parents home in Los Angeles, and when it rains, which isn’t very often, some bright guy gets the idea to take a boat down the riverbed and they usually drown, so about three days after I bought my camera, someone was doing just that, and the news crews were there filming a helicopter that was trying to rescue these guys, so I took my camera and ran down there
I didn’t have a press pass, so they wouldn’t let me around the chain link fence to get to where the action was, so I was shooting through the fence, and this guy turned around and asked me what I was doing. “Kind of Obvious,” I said, and he’s like, “Well, you’re on the wrong side of the fence.” I said, “I know, I’m new at this, and they said that I couldn’t go over there” and he got really intense with me, pulled my camera strap through the fence and hissed, “Look, if you REALLY want this shot, just jump the fence.”
I’m still not sure why I decided to jump that fence. But something inside me welled up, and even though I was in high heels, a little short skirt, nylons, and was holding my purse, I did it. I jumped the fence. And he just thought it was so funny…there I was with my little manual camera, and he had this super space age digital model. But I didn’t care. I shot for all I was worth.
After it was over, he asked me to “come to his ‘place’ and develop the film”. I wasn’t about to go to any guy’s “place”…I had, of course, just gotten OUT of that business… but then he gave me his card, and it turned out that he was the head of the LA times photo department, so I went back to the LA Times with him, and lo and behold, my picture was better than his, so he published it and gave me a job. I shot everything from fashion to food to football and everything in between, and then I branched out on my own and started on my new life, winning more than 400 local, regional and national awards in the process.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you, and the amazing pictures you’re going to take!
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