Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Here! {Jose Villa's new photo book}

Before finishing off some of my last photo classes at Emily Carr, one of the things our profs kept insisting upon was the fact that we would miss our 'crits' (in-class critiques that are de rigueur for art students) once we'd left art school. I was somewhat skeptical as I'd spent five years cringing as professors and peers alike picked apart my work. Five years of biting my lip and hoping that the crit would be over fast...somewhat in the fashion of pulling off a Band-Aid if you do it the way I do...rrrippp! But critiques if anything, are not fast in nature, and whole DAYS could be spent reviewing the work of an entire class. Yeah, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to miss those goodies.

*Just a note: I don't think any of us were downright mean to each other in critiquing our work...it's just that artwork comes from someplace deep and personal (unless you threw something together at the last minute which I'm pretty sure we were all guilty of at one time or another) and I found any criticism to be a bit of a blow, even if I knew it was well-meant and dead-on.

Anyway, a year or so after graduating (so, 2008) I found myself craving a good critique. Being self-employed wasn't easy and not having a community of artists to bounce ideas off of was a downright bummer. As I've spent the last several years in a somewhat transient state, finding that sort of community has not been as high on my priority list as I would have liked. Even less so has been seeking out seminars and workshops to attend within my chosen field.

(Okay, I know I'm starting to sound like a total downer, but just wait, it gets better. MUCH better).

So I started collecting books. Books written by photographers who are really, truly making it and not compromising their artistry. Of course now that I'm finally settled I have started building a community of photographers to network with, have found some GREAT photography blogs to follow, and have big plans to attend the 2012 WPPI event in Las Vegas.

But I still collect books. And today, just released and just arrived on MY doorstep was Jose Villa's new book "Fine Art Wedding Photography". It is gorgeous, chock full of great advice, and everything that old, stodgy wedding photography is NOT. {Cue the Hallelujah Chorus right about NOW}.

I was so mesmerized by the book, I totally forgot that I had steelhead fillets baking in the oven for a late lunch. Thankfully I saved them before they dried out. Anyway, back to class critiques and how they got me to this place...the advice of both seasoned professionals and peers is a thing to be treasured, no matter how painful it might be. And while nowadays I'd have to pay Jose Villa a pretty penny to review my work, I only had to pay $19.99 for 159 pages of the man's advice! Not to mention a collection of his glorious images to boot.

If you're a photographer, bride, member of a wedding party, a part of the wedding industry, or just a sentimental schmuck like me, I highly recommend ordering a copy of "Fine Art Wedding Photography" by Jose Villa & Jeff Kent. But especially if you're a wedding photographer...because here's a guy who's proven to be overwhelmingly successful in a very tough market, yet still maintains a beautiful sense of artistry, design, and timelessness. And that is something each of us in the business should seriously take to heart.

Have you checked out Villa's new book? Leave your thoughts below!

On Friday I'll be posting a list of some of my favourite resources for photographers
...stay tuned!