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  • Writer's pictureKathy Stockbridge

How Photography and Music Feed My My Soul

Updated: Jul 4, 2018

Photo by Cunningham Photography

As a photographer, you struggle to juggle your time between shooting, editing, and marketing yourself and your business. The amount of time you put into each of these areas effects your success. You learn very quickly that if you categorize yourself, you will achieve greater success with a target demographic. Do you want to be known as a portrait photographer, a landscape photographer, a wedding and engagement photographer, a commercial photographer, or perhaps an event photographer? When developing my brand, I didn't want to compartmentalize myself, because photography feeds my creative soul. I wanted to shoot it all because I love to capture moments, all moments. So how could I choose just one area to focus on? How could I focus on capturing moments and still find the niche I needed to establish myself?

Photo by Cunningham Photography

It's funny how photography pulled me in a specific direction, almost as though it was magnetic. My original focus was to be a landscape photographer. I wanted to travel and capture places I visited and sites I saw. I thought my love for travel could marry my love for photography and live happily ever after. But fate had other plans for me, and my direction could have not been any more polar opposite. That dream would have to wait because I first needed to travel a different path.

REO Speedwagon

I think sometimes you are drawn to things you feel passionate about or interest you, whether you do so consciously or not. Music was one of those passions. I spent numerous hours of my life loosing myself in the words of albums and melodies of sounds. It didn't matter what mood I was in, there was a music to accompany said mood. Music motivated me when I needed a push, brought me up when feeling down, took me back to times before, celebrated with my friends, or relaxed me when stressed. I don't know why I'm still surprised that I would submerge myself in music once again through photography. It definitely wasn't planned, but fate would put me together with a NYS Music magazine at my first Enter The Haggis show at the Uptown Theater. I would be there to shoot the show for myself, but it was because one of the writers present that night that a connection would be made when she asked to use my photos for her article. This would be the beginning of my journalistic career.

Ireland Tour 2016 with The Elders and Moxie Strings

I am happy to say this unexpected path has brought me places I never would have seen myself just a few short years ago, and introduced me to some of my best friends, and most memorable moments! I still feel very fortunate to have found my way down this road as I've grown so much as a photographer and individual. I've achieved things I never dreamed I would achieve had I taken the other path first. Ask my 10 year old self that played "Photograph" on my record player if I thought one day I would be able to interview Ringo Starr, and I would have thought you crazy! But I did. In fact just being my silly self, I actually made him laugh. Sometimes I still can't believe that moment!!

Ringo Starr at Lakeview Ampitheather 2017

Yep, this has been one amazing journey. A journey I really needed at a time in my life I needed to find myself. I was always someone's daughter, wife, step-mother, mother, or employee. For the first time in my life I found myself at a moment when I needed to find who I was and what I wanted. I always lived my life for everyone else, never really following any dreams I may have had. So when my son began to get older, I knew I needed to do something for myself. I needed to show him how to set your sights on a dream, and go after it. So I did. What was the worst that could happen? I always had a Plan B with nature. It wasn't going anywhere.

With fellow NYSMusic photographers Mark McGauley and Chris Besaw

On this journey, I have met some of the most amazing photographers and journalists in the business, as well as those at the venues and on the crews, and with lighting and sound. These are colleagues that I hold in the highest regard. So much talent, so dedicated, so driven to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. They put in hours and hours of work for that moment most won't see; the real behind the scenes work. It was just as Jackson Browne sang in "Load Out/Stay". These are the photographers that work the shows and then spend hours and hours of time to bring you show announcements, album reviews, and highlights and photos of the events experienced. These are the folks that share the same passion as I do, capturing musical moments and the emotions that they invoked.

Saranac Thursday with Mark Simon and ETH

Scott Weiland and Jeremy Brown

It's not as glamorous as it seems folks. Trust me, it's more than just pointing and shooting a camera. There's numerous hours traveling highways in all kinds of weather, or staying up late downloading photos, editing, and writing articles when you should be sleeping because you have a deadline to meet and want the article relevant and not yesterday's news. It's upkeep of equipment, costs of new equipment, and costs for travel, parking, etc. It's not being compensated for these expenses, but not caring as you are being paid in memories and moments. It's tons of emails back and forth trying to get permission to shoot and review. It's releases you sign, agreeing not to share your work without permission, and last minute denials after traveling hours to get there because publicists don't communicate with tour managers. There's butterflies like you can't believe when you get to speak to a musician you never in a million years believed you would talk to in real life. Then there's the moments of history you have captured, when you learn one your favorite musicians has left us and you can't believe it as they were just in front of you what seems like moments beforehand. It's surreal. Even's so worth it!!

Gregg Allman - CMAC 2015

It's been a crazy road, and one I'm so very thankful to have followed. It wasn't what I originally planned to do, but it's funny how it's lead me back to my Emptynest Adventures Blog. A blog that features travels and landscapes! It's brought me full circle to the point where I'm ready to embark on the next chapter of my life with a better understanding of myself and what I want, and a confidence in getting there. I know now I wasn't ready for that adventure. First I needed to learn more about photography, business, and what I want out of life. Now I feel more ready than I have before. There's a whole list of places I want to go, and shows I've yet to shoot. There's still so much I want to do. The one thing I have taken away from this whole experience is that as long as I trust the journey, I will follow the path that is meant to be. The one that feeds my soul and brings me joy. The one that prepares me for the next path to follow. I hope that you too can trust the journey and follow your paths. It's a bit scary at times, but so worth it in the end.

Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland

Till next time my friends.



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