Interview With John Burman

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When did you first become interested in art, in general?

I became interested in art when I was five years old, my mom would take me to art classes when my family lived in Smyrna, Ga. While at the art classes I was encouraged to be creative. I remember being bashful, when I stood in front of a child size easel and given paint and brushes, I painted a house with flowers, a sun and a rainbow. I was proud of myself and given compliments on what I created. After the class was over and at home I asked my mom if I could show the picture I painted to grandma and grandpa. When my grandparents saw what I painted, they were very happy for me. I often think back on this fond childhood memory of mine and remember how happy I was.

When did you first become interested in photography, specifically?

What interested me in photography comes from another happy memory I have. I was eight years old, the family moved to Carrollton, Georgia where we had a big house and farm. One day on a hot July afternoon my mom surprised me with a bottle of bubbles. I remember a light breeze was blowing, I went down to the dock on our pond to blow bubbles. I had so much fun, I didn’t realize my dad was taking pictures of me. A couple of days later my dad showed me the photos he took. As I looked at them they were black and white photos of me and of the bubbles as they were floating through the air. I was very pleased with the pictures. I thought to myself maybe one day I could take photos of wonderful things like my dad. Part of my inspiration comes from this really good childhood memory. The rest of my inspiration comes from living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I never knew there was such awe inspiring beauty until I moved here seven years ago.

In what other forms of art do you also work?

I enjoy creating photo slideshows of my photos put to music. Another form of art I would like to try is watercolor paintings.

On which style of photography do you specialize?

The one style of photography I’m good at is floral photographs. I enjoy this style very much and how I capture the intricate details of a flower. I put a lot of effort into this and the end result is pleasing to the eye.

Has your style changed from when you first began?

My style hasn’t changed much from when I first started photography. I read about other styles of photography and I would love to learn another style of photography to my skill set. I would like to add more variety to the photos I take.

What kind of equipment do you use?

I use a simple Fuji Film FinePix S2980 digital camera and a tripod to help me take even, steady photographs. I like this camera very much.

What made you choose that equipment?

I chose this camera for being user friendly, light weight and for the wonderful photos it takes. Also, I did quite a bit of research about this camera and found it was the best one to suit my needs when it came to taking photos.

Are you a specialist photographer?

Yes I enjoy capturing the true essence of a beautiful flower. When someone views one of my photos I like to see the expression on their face when the person looks at the intricate details of the flower. I specialize in bringing feelings of happiness to others through my photography.

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Do you have favourite times of the days to take shots in?

I can’t say that I have favourite time of day to go out and take photos. What I do is observe the weather conditions outside and if the conditions are right, I go and take photos. I do have to say that here in Albuquerque, the winters are very cold, on very cold days I stay home.

Are you a patient photographer, waiting for the right moment, or do you tend to just shoot and hope for the best?

Being patient has had its rewards. I put forth much effort when taking photos. For example when I decided to go down to the Rio Grande River to take photos of wild geese, I had to be very patient. The geese were constantly on the move and out of the seventy or eighty shots I took, only five photos I took turned out nice. One thing I did not realize about geese is they are very protective of their turf. I have always heard of people being chased by geese. I had the pleasure of being chased and being bitten by one on my leg which left a good sized red welt.

How often do you go out just to photograph or, do you have your camera ready at all times, even shopping?

I go out as often as I can to take photos. I like having my camera with me at all times, even when I go shopping. Often people give me an odd look when I have my camera at the grocery store. You never know when a good photo op is going to happen. There have been times where I did not have my camera with me and missed some really good shots. So being prepared is always good.

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Do you edit in photoshop or another programme?

I don’t use photoshop or any other editing software for my photos. Sometimes I have to take several photos of the same thing in order for me to choose the best shot that I want to keep for upload to my portfolio on Fine Art America. I put in a lot of practice with my photography. Also I read about different techniques and try to apply the techniques into my work. There are times where I experiment with my camera settings to learn different ways of taking photos. If I like what I experimented on with my camera ,I go out and take photos and make note of how the photos turned out.

How much time (on average) do you spend editing a work?

I haven’t had to spend any time editing my photos. I do to the best of my ability every time I go out to take photographs. I don’t put expectations on myself, I do the best I can.

What was your worse job?

I have not had a worse job and hope that I never do. Don’t get me wrong there are times when I have bad days when I go out to take photos. For example not bringing an extra set of batteries with me therefore cutting my time short when I would have liked to spend more time shooting.

What was your best job?

I have not had a best job for now. My hope is to become recognized as a photographer to where people would want to hire me for a photo shoot. That is a big dream of mine. I know that if I keep working toward my dream, soon my dream will be a reality.

One other thing I want say is to my beautiful girlfriend of five years Brandi. A big thank you for helping me to achieve my dream and inspiring me to be a photographer.

Brandi keeps encouraging me with my photography, to keep taking photos and not to ever falter from the journey I started three and a half years ago.

4How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it easy to walk away?

When I look at one of my photos and it draws me in to evoke a feeling of happiness that is when I know a photo is good. I find myself looking at my photos often and never realized that I would become a great photographer.

What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?

Sometimes I have to tell myself to relax when I am having trouble being creative. I look for inspiration and if I don’t find any, I walk away from what I am doing and come back to it later.

How well do you take criticism and how do you make use of it?

When I first became a photographer, criticism was hard for me to take. These days I take criticism as being constructive. I use the criticism to do better the next time I take photos, I use it to help me fine tune my photography skills.

Who is your favourite photographer?

Nicholas Samaras for his underwater photography. I enjoy the rich detail that is presented in his photo. When Nicholas Samaras takes photos, the images he captures envelope your mind with curiosity and imagination. The images he takes make you want to be where photo was taken.

3Which one of your photographs is your favourite?

One photo I have taken entitled “Brilliance” is my most favourite. The reason for this is when I look at the photo, the flower’s detail is well illustrated. I really like how the photo turned out. It is very eye catching, the detail all the way down to the smallest spec of pollen is shown in the photo.

There are many photos that I have taken of flowers and by far this one (“Brilliance”) is my most favourite one of all.

Have you used smartphone cameras?

Yes I have used a smartphone camera. I don’t use it to take photos for upload to my portfolio on Fine Art America. I have seen nice photos taken with a smartphone camera. To me they don’t produce the quality and detail that a camera can do.

Do you think Smartphone cameras will change the whole world of photography?

I think that smartphone cameras may change photography only to a small degree. To me cameras on smartphones won’t completely change the world of photography completely. Cameras on phones are good for selfies and other things like face time that is an application for I-phones. I know the technology has improved for smartphone cameras to take really good pictures. I would never solely use a smartphone camera for my photography.

2Have you exhibited any of your work in galleries?

Not yet. To display my work in a gallery is the biggest dream I have for myself. I often think about having my photography shown in a gallery. I’m smiling from ear to ear thinking about this question you’re asking me. I truly believe there would be nothing that would make me more exuberant, happy, and more joyous than to display my work in a gallery.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to have my own photography gallery to display my work. One other thing I have planned is to have my photos published into a photobook with poetry describing each photo in the book.

What advice do you have for budding photographers?

If you are just starting as a photographer, always do to the best of your ability. Always tell yourself you can achieve anything you want to achieve. I once read a quote from Walt Disney that says: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” This quote has inspired me to moving forward with my photography. Many years ago I dreamed of being a photographer. My dream was just not given to me, I put forth effort into my photography every day and I am rewarded richly by the comments given to me and by the wonderful photos I take.

Have you done any courses to help you?

I haven’t taken any courses, I am self- taught. The only thing I have done to learn about photography is from a website called digital-photography-school.com there I learn tips and tricks on how to take good photos. The site gives good suggestions on how to fine tune your photography skills.

What do you do to market your work?

I really got into marketing my work when I signed up for Fine Art America in March of this year. Also, I have connected my portfolio on FAA to Twitter, Pinterest, and on Stumbleupon. There are other ways to market my work that I haven’t discovered. Through reading and research I will find more ways to get noticed with my photography.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

Yes I do use social media on a daily basis. I find in doing this is very helpful for me to introduce people to a world of photography that they probably didn’t know existed. On some of my posts and tweets, I have said in them “I enjoy sharing the beauty of life with friends and with the world.”

Listed here are some of my user names that I use on social media sites if any of your readers would like to see my photography work.

www.twitter.com @ JohnBurman6,
www.pinterest.com/johnburman800 ,
www.stumbleupon.com /johnb761

Are you available for work (commissions)?

There is nothing more I would like to do is to be commissioned to do an exclusive photoshoot for someone.

1Have you got hobbies?

Yes I do. I enjoy cooking wonderful dinners for myself and my fiancé. I learned how to cook when I was young, being taught by my mom and grandma. One of my most favourite dishes to cook that originated here in New Mexico is green chili chicken enchilada casserole. When I make that dish, it doesn’t last very long in our home. It is yummy delicious!!!

Where are you based?

I live in Albuquerque ,New Mexico. There could be no better place in this country to be a photographer. The scenery here is amazing. All my photos I’ve taken are from all around Albuquerque. I am always amazed with the sunsets here as if the sun and the clouds were painted in the sky. One photo comes to mind when I think about the sunsets, on my portfolio page on Fine Art America titled “Forever Sun and Sky” is just one of the many amazing things to photograph here in New Mexico.

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