Impossible is nothing – Birth of an artist

Fourth post from my positiveness quest

I probably won’t become another Vivian Maier (never say never though 😉 ), an American street photographer born in New York City,  a nanny and care-giver whose work became famous after her death in 2009, when over 100’000 (undeveloped) negatives was discovered; recently there were few movies out to tell her story and I can personally recommend twelve minute short document ‘Vivian Maier, Photographer, Extraordinaire’ (youtube link here) for you to watch…

ok, so back to me…

I always liked photography but never really explored it thoroughly until this last Saturday when I went for a whole day beginner photography workshop here in Geneva, led by very talented photographer Oliver O’Hanion. In his cool studio (oh so cool, what a change from my routine life and regular spots… ) with good music played from damn good sound system (which made me feel like being on one of those cool underground concerts) we spent morning sharing our thoughts about photography and learning the technical (ouch!) side of it: have you heard of shutter, aperture or ISO?  It is like life before and after.. Life was simple before I did  (I will make a separate post to shortly explain these)

camera – on – automatic

– preview


– review …. oh wow, great shot, I am so good!!

Now things got more complicated and I guess more exciting too…

camera – on – manual

– ok, what’s the light like? hmmm, its bit cloudy/dark, ok so the ISO is supposed to be low, right? like 600? or 400? or was it actually supposed to be a hight ISO? – ok so let’s say low, let’s leave it at 600

– oh my lovely aperture, your turn.. how is the light again? and the desired depth of field? pffff…  let’s take the high road and stick with 5.6

– here comes the shutter speed – slow, normal, fast? am I recording or freezing the movement?

– Ok, where is the famous light meter? here it is! is it at zero? nope.. let’s adjust the shutter speed? or the aperture? Ok, I got this, Im at zero (or I am a zero…)

– preview

– SHOT!!!

– review – oh, crap! its over-exposed (that’s the way WE photographers call the pic when it is too bright)

– ok, step back, shutter speed readjustment – focus on subject…oh, where is my subject?! please stop moving, don’t you see I am trying to make an art here?!!!?


– review – aaaand there you go! Wow, I am an artist!! So proud… 🙂

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I must confess manual photography reminded me of driving. When you start with it, it seems complicated and terrifying but I guess it gets better with practice. It must.


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We went for different types of photography, however all in black and white mode, which apparently is the simpler way to learn.

We started with portrait, working in pairs where one of us was the photographer and the other was the model. Very patient model… staring to the objective waiting the one behind the camera (me) to figure it all out, fix the settings and finally make the shot.. it just felt like ages to both of us 🙂

I personally like these portraits I made:

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Then we moved to a beautiful parc for landscape photos. As it was very sunny day, it was particularly challenging to take good pictures. With all the trees around there was shade but outside this area it was very bright so parts of the photos were too dark and other parts were too bright, almost white. I also tried to experiment a bit and used different picture taking techniques.

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I tried panning (you pan your camera along in time with the moving subject) with slow shutter speed, too slow here but I kind of like the result, even if for some people it might be too blurry:

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Continuing, we moved to Old Town to experience architecture photography. I enjoyed much this part, because buildings don’t move and they don’t look at you strangely as why do you take their pictures…

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Finally, we walked down to shopping street, the centre of town, to experience street photography. This was the hardest and least enjoyable part for me as it is not easy to go around and take (obviously) photos of people in their ordinary life moments. I was afraid of being challenged or having a conflict..  Also, as the people on the streets are not your models, they do not wait and stay still for you to take a picture. It was bit of a nightmare to find a subject (or object) for my photo and set up my camera quickly enough so the subject isn’t covered by something else or doesn’t completely disappear in crowd, etc.

This mission wasn’t that successful and I have only very few pictures I like.

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It is fun taking photos of ordinary, don’t you think? Have you tried yet?

I mean, we are so used to take out our cameras only on occasions as family gatherings, events and holidays, but rarely we just look around to find inspiration and take photos …  unless we are fairly active on social media (oh, speaking of which, you can find me on instagram @mirrorsdonotlie and @mirrorsdonotlie_photography for my photography attempts //ehm, yes, I have multiple instagram accounts. Three actually 😉 ) and then we take a picture with our smartphone of e.v.e.r.y. thing, probably including the dog crap you just stepped in as well #crap #luck #badday #imgonnawinthelottery #me #LOL

I have a review of my work coming up in two weeks and I am very interested to see what Oliver has to say about my photography.

In any case I learned something new and I hope to take out my camera more often and try to capture world around the way I see it and pamper the newborned creative side of me 🙂

Thank you for reading & staying with me.

Love, A.

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Coffee, soup and happiness addict, girl of controversy I miss daydreaming and slow time. Leaving corporate world, pursuing my dreams and blogging about things close to my heart. Swiss based.

8 thoughts on “Impossible is nothing – Birth of an artist

  1. Great tips and photos! I honestly never use my camera on manual mode, I’ve never learned how! I should probably look into that for nicer photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its bit time consuming so you must really be enthusiastic about otherwise automatic photos are just as great 😉 The photoshop was great though, easier and more fun than discovering on your own… you should try!!


    1. Hi Tamara, yes, that was my ME time 🙂 that picture is taken on the corner of Rue de la Confederation and Rue de la Cite, just nearby Bel-Air. Are you coming to Geneva often?


  2. Hi Elfie, thank you for stopping by!! That picture is taken in Passage des Lions (near Bel-Air). It was completely refurbished and it is wonderful, full of light with some coffee places to sit and enjoy 🙂 Have a nice weekend!


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