I am constantly inspired by other photographers, movies, visual artists, music, etc., and because I always believe in giving credit where credit is due, I really wanted to be able to bring those inspirations into the spotlight here on my little blog. Since I may not even have started this website or blog if it had not been for his woman, it only made sense to dedicate my first Inspiration Spotlight to the AWESOME and AMAZING photographer who unknowingly re-sparked my passion for film photography, despite the fact that she is not a film photographer herself, Miss Teri Hofford.
Teri isn’t just a uniquely talented boudoir photographer and educator, she is a full-on body image activist. We both belong to a boudoir photography association called Do More Photographers, and last year we were both educators at the inaugural Camp Do More photography retreat in Ontario, Canada. I taught a workshop on boudoir videography, and Teri just happened to teach a workshop right after mine called “Shake Shit Up.” I decided to stay and sit in on her workshop because I love listening to Teri speak. She’s hilarious, but also not afraid to turn into “Tough Love Teri” if she needs to tell other photographers how it is (with love, of course).
Teri’s workshop, “Shake Shit Up,” is intended to help spark creativity and encourage photographers to think outside of their usual boxes. At one point, she was talking about how so many of us photographers feel the need to constantly post our work online to get as many “likes” as possible, but then she asked the question that really shook MY shit up. She asked, “What would you shoot if you knew that NO ONE ELSE would EVER see it? What would you shoot if you shot PURELY for yourself?”
That question felt like a sock in the gut to me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after camp had ended. I immediately knew in my heart that my answer to her question was “film photography,” but that made me question why the hell I ever stopped shooting film to begin with??? Back in the early 2000’s, before Instagram, I used to carry around my beloved little Holga and Lomo Fisheye cameras with me everywhere and got so much joy from shooting those photos on film. I honestly didn’t care if anyone else ever saw them, let alone liked them, because those photos were just for ME and for MY enjoyment. So, again, why did I ever let myself get away from doing something I enjoyed so much?
Pondering this question is what made me realize how long I had been shooting boudoir photography strictly for other people and because it’s my job. Don’t get me wrong, I LOOOOOVE being a full-time professional boudoir photographer, and that’s probably why I hadn’t realized that it had been years since I’d shot anything purely for my own enjoyment. Once this was brought to my attention, though, I couldn’t get it out of my head. As soon as I got home from Camp Do More, I dusted off the old Holga and started playing again. Then, I decided to try taking this film photography thing up a notch and purchased my Mamiya 645j about a month after that.
In short, I find Teri to be incredibly inspiring on SO many levels (too many to dive into here), but I will always be extremely grateful to her for reminding me that it’s just as important do creative things that make yourself happy as it is to earn a living by making others happy. She is 100% the reason I am shooting film again today.
Thank you for inspiring me and for being such an incredible human, Teri Hofford!