Guest Contributor | Leslie Vega
Guest Contributor | Leslie Vega
Hi, Laura! Tell us a bit about your upcoming e-course.
I’d love to! Candela is a six-week e-course about moving away from a technical approach to photography, and towards an approach based on the core of the creative practice: intuition, emotion, and heartfelt personal inquiry.
I’ve been a photography teacher for many years and have seen photographers really struggle with the technical side of the process. Oftentimes, this struggle starts to eclipse the creative part of photography and take the fun out of it. I feel strongly that photography is much more than just a technical or mechanical exercise. Instead of investing in newer, fancier, better gear, we need to invest in ourselves as artists.
Candela is designed to help photographers tap into a more personal approach to the medium and develop a richer artistic life. We talk about breaking photographic “rules,” making images that reflect personal passions and experiences, and overcoming creative stumbling blocks and that pesky inner critic. The e-course includes inspirational readings, audio slideshows, lectures, and weekly photography projects designed to help expand creative boundaries. I am incredibly happy with this course and I love sharing it with students.
What advice do you have for photographers who are trying to find their creative voice?
I think the most important thing is for images to come from a deeply personal space. At a certain point, we have to move beyond taking common, everyday images and create photographs that are deeply informed by who we are as people – as artists.
I had a student recently who was at this turning point in her work. She’d been photographing for a few years and was making some pretty good pictures, but she felt like there was something missing. She couldn’t figure out how to develop a personal style and say something unique with her work. We worked together to identify some really rich sources of inspiration in her life – and it’s made a real difference in how she approaches her photography. She was born in Japan and moved to the States when she was still fairly young. Her home was filled with beautiful Japanese antiques, old family photographs, and handwritten letters from her parents (great photo subjects!). She had a lot of strong emotions around losing touch with her heritage and was working to reconnect by tracking down extended family members who were still living in Japan. Through our work together, she started to see that she had a powerful story to tell with her photography, and she’s now working to build a whole series on this subject. Because these experiences are so personal, she’s now able to imbue her work with more emotion. It can feel a little vulnerable to put yourself into your work like this – but it can be incredibly enriching. In the end, personal work is powerful work.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I am a photographer, curator, educator, and arts director based in rainy Portland, Oregon. I work as Outreach Director at Photolucida, a nonprofit that helps build connections between photographers and the gallery and publishing worlds. I also curate exhibitions, jury competitions, and review photographers’ work at portfolio review events around the country. I love helping photographers clarify their vision and produce stronger, more meaningful work. You can see my personal work at my website: http://valentijelen.com/.
You also have a travel photography e-course, right?
I do! I wanted to create a course that would go beyond simple gear recommendations and itinerary tips. Those things are important, but they’re not at the heart of the matter. My course, Traveling Light: The Spirit of Travel Photography, focuses on making more nuanced, personal travel images – images that resonate with the spirit of the place. It’s a one-week, on-demand course, so it starts on the day you register. It’s easy to squeeze in right before an upcoming trip!
We would love for you to check out Laura’s e-courses.
Her next Candela course begins on April 2nd. Registration is now open.
Candela: Finding Inspiration Through Photography: http://valentijelen.com/candela/
Traveling Light: The Spirit of Travel Photography: http://valentijelen.com/traveling-light/
Laura’s blog: http://valentijelen.com/news/
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In honor of RED CARPET WEEK and the launch of the fabulous new CHIC BOUTIQUE, we are offering all our fans some super FREEBIES!
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It’s Red Carpet Week and we’ve been rolling out the Red Carpet all week to reveal our BIG SECRET today!
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This project started 9 months ago, during the summer of June 2013, and is finally ready to be revealed.
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It’s Red Carpet Week and we’ve been rolling out the Red Carpet all week to reveal our BIG SECRET!
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It is RED CARPET Week as we roll out our newest baby!
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We are rolling out the red carpet this week to unveil a big surprise at the end of the week! Be sure to watch what’s happening on Chic’s Red Carpet all week long.
Here’s what’s to come this week:
February is the month of LOVE and we think everything is better in pairs.
So, for the 1st time ever, we are having a rare BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE MEMBERSHIP SALE!
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Offer ends on March 1st 2014!
How it works:
Simply sign up as a Chic Member by March 1st 2014 and you’ll get a Welcome email with a coupon code you can send to a friend.