Getting to Re-know Someone!
I'm not sure if the term Re-know is actually correct, but...
I'm not sure if the term "Re-know" is actually correct, but this week's blog is about sharing a conversation with a friend. I almost typed photography friend, but that would limit our friendship to only photography and I don't want that to happen. Gretchen and I met in high school, well actually she was in high school and I was one of her instructors. (She still calls me Mr. Holl on occasion!) So getting to know her again, almost 20 years later was such a pleasure! Gretchen and I have been crossing paths many times in the last 20 years, including performing in West Hills Symphonic Band, but it wasn't until we both found out we had a passion for photography that we really start to talk about more than the weather.
My right hand...
Gretchen and I have been quite a team lately. I injured my arm back in January and have had limited use of my right arm and even less ability after my surgery in April. Gretchen has been there for me every time I've asked, literally my right arm where I couldn't hold a camera. Although she says that she is "just starting to figure it out," don't be fooled! She is much farther along than she will admit! She has done several events with me, including the Pittsburgh Classic Theatre Gala (pictured here) and the Pittsburgh Youth Concert Orchestra concert a couple weeks ago.
“I did a wedding for my friends brother and fell in love with photographing, well love!”
Getting to Know Gretchen
So one of our personal challenges has been to get to know other photographers, not just what they take photos of or "what's your settings?" but to really know somebody. So we had a chance to ask each other some questions lately and here are some of her answers. Hopefully you will see the incredible side of Gretchen Decker Photography, as well as Gretchen Decker.
How did you get into photography? Did you have an “ah ha” moment or a session that got you into it?
"I have had a camera in my had for as long as I can remember. My very first camera was a 110mm film camera. It had Mickey Mouse on it and it was blue. Once I graduated college I gifted myself a DSLR because I enjoyed taking photos of nature, landscapes, and during travel. I have always loved photography but never wanted to photograph people. I did a wedding for my friends brother and fell in love with photographing, well love!"
Who is your inspiration? Do you have a favorite photographer?
"I don’t think I have one specific photographer that has inspired me. I’m inspired by all photographers and my fellow photographer friends. I have developed such great friendships and mentorships through photography. I’m so grateful for those friendships. We each learn from each other and it’s amazing. In a world where there is so much competition, it’s refreshing to help and support each other. One of those is you Mike! :)" I didn't tell her to say that!
“I take photos as life is happening instead of more posed looks. I think this captures the true moments of special celebrations.”
When you aren’t creating amazing portraits, what are you working on?
"In addition to photography, I also work full-time as a project manager. But when I’m not doing that, I enjoy hiking with my best boy Eli. Eli is a pit bull shar pei mix dog whom I rescued 5 years ago from the humane society. I think he might enjoy hiking more than me. "
What do the next 5 years look like for you?
"This is always such a hard question. My goal is to retire early from the corporate gig and do photography full time as I travel around and see other countries."
If you could go back to your past self, what past self would you go back to and advice would you give you?
"Be patient with yourself. You will always grow and learn as a photographer but it doesn’t happen overnight so be patient with yourself. Never stop learning. I love learning, it’s one of my top 5 strengths. But there is always something new to learn and as a photographer you can’t grow and improve without learning. And outside of photography, it’s important to keep learning and growing as a person. We don’t get to a certain age and just stop, we need to continue to ever evolve and get better. "
What she doesn't say about herself...
Gretchen is kind and compassionate. She will go out of her way to help if she can. I have loved watching her grow as a photographer, but even more as a person, from a frail flute soloist (who seemed to cry a lot) to a strong confident, independent woman with a passion for learning. I can't wait to see where her passions take her!