In my dream life, I would be a fashion and documentary photographer, but until that happens, I’m a barista. Every day I show up to work, serve the same customers, make the same drinks, hit the same cash button on the register, wipe the same tables and bake the same pastries. It can get a little mundane after two years. Everyone has to work, pay the bills, put in your due time so you can play later, right? This was my thought process for years. I always thought I would need to work a full-time job in order to support my true passion, creating images. But in reality, why can’t the two go hand-in-hand?
I am not a food photographer, I do not know how to make a beautiful food or drink ad campaign like Rob Grimm, but I sure do know my workplace very well. I know how the light falls on the tables in the afternoon. I know when there is soft, natural light coming in the large windows. I know where the visually pleasing backgrounds are, so I started using that knowledge. Soon, I started seeing things and enjoying work more altogether. I know that not everyone who loves photography can be a full-time photographer, but we can make the most of the moments we have every day to incorporate our passion for photography.
Every workplace is different. A cubicle may seem boring, image-wise, but it can leave you with a freedom to play with the background by placing different objects on it, or playing around with the flat-bed scanner on your desk. A retail shop has plenty of opportunities to create images about the product you are selling, or the people that visit. A manufacturing warehouse can offer abstract or industrial image opportunities. There are no limits to the images you can create; only the ones you perceive are there.
When I was first starting to shoot, I always thought I needed to travel to exotic locations and take pictures of beautiful landscapes. It was only after a mission’s trip to Jamaica where I came back with only one decent picture to speak about did I realize exotic locations were overrated. I always thought people wanted to see the far-away lands and adventures, when they do not even see their hometown the way I do. So I started shooting at home, and finding the intricate nuances of my hometown.
In the same way, if I walked into your workplace with a camera, I may not know where the best light is, or where the interesting lines and compositions are, but you do. So I challenge you, take pictures of your workplace. Who knows what you can come up with on a day-to-day basis! If your company has a social media account, I urge you to ask them if you can contribute images to the posts. The images I was creating at my coffee shop allowed me to write and shoot an editorial about coffee for a local Jacksonville magazine, First Coast Magazine.
I hope you take this challenge seriously, the only way to get better as a photographer is to shoot more and see better. Take that to heart.
This guest post was contributed by Joshua Brangenberg, a college graduate from the University of North Florida with a degree in Communication and a focus in multimedia journalism.
Through my experience, I have learned how to tell a story not only with words, but also with pictures and video. I feel that the visual medium has a growing impact on the world today than ever before.
My passion for photography has given me the opportunity to meet many interesting people worldwide over the years. Through this time, I have realized the importance of telling a story through an image.
Through my writing, I strive to show readers a piece of the world they have not seen before. My love for visual journalism has helped me communicate not only with words, but connecting the audience through emotional imagery. I hope to make a positive change in the worldwide community through the stories I have the honor of writing.