Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassie Green.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My story began at a young age. My mother had saved my 3rd grade class project and gave it to me when I began my business. In my disbelief it said “when I grow up I want to be a photographer”. I’m not surprised that I wrote that then, but I definitely lost touch with the drive to make that into a part of me until I had my first child. In my education I thought I’d love to be a teacher, then a children’s therapist, which I got degrees in both, and learned SO much, but when I had my own child, Ava, who’s now 10, I just fell in love with capturing her facial expressions. I had never experienced such a deep love for anything before, and freezing her growing, changing, evolving nature became a new passion for me. I look back on the photos I have of her when she was 2. Maybe I took hundreds, as I was learning, experimenting and testing my vision, but even then, as a beginner, there are gems that speak the visceral love feeling I had of her at that time. I love that because it shows anyone out there interested in photography, or beginning their journey with it that it doesn’t matter what camera gear or processing software you have, it matters more what you see. The camera is just the vehicle to what you are seeing. What you are seeing is your gift.
I have always had trouble believing in my gift. I have gotten lost in comparing mind, or doubting I have anything special. It’s a trap I can still fall into from time to time. When that happens I look back to my blog, or Instagram page and scroll though images I’ve taken, finding favorites, and falling in love with them. I remind myself that I’m not here to be the best photographer. I am here to share what I’ve always longed to see in everything, and that it love and interconnectedness. A photograph turns into gold over time, maybe not to everyone, but to the family I am photographing and that is what motivates me to keep shooting.
As my photography career matured I found myself drawn to film photographers, such as Yan Palmer and Jonathan Canlas. I saw an authenticity in their work that focused on natural beauty, not styled beauty, and genuine connection, not just smile and look at the camera, which spoke to me and encouraged me to make that a part of my work. There is so much beauty and meaning in the everyday minutia. And I loved the way film made those moments look, so I jumped off the deep end and read books, took workshops, used trial and error to learn how to shoot film again. Now I shoot it at every session and lean back on my digital camera for comfort and familiarity when I need it to assure myself. I still love what that camera can capture too as long as I can process the image myself to emulate film.
Now here I am 8 years into this and I am more in love with it than I ever was before. I think shooting personal work is what keeps me trying new ways of working with light or positioning and that fear of not being good enough has a small purpose that might be beneficial, which is motivating me to go further, dive deeper, listen more closely to the inner voice that nudges me to press the shutter button. It pushes me to trust in what I see and go with it. I think that connects me more deeply to photography as an art. I am forever a work in process in every way.
Please tell us about your art.
Where my passion lies and what I get the most out of photographing are children and mothers and their relationships to what grounds them (each other, nature, partners, etc.). I find, linking back to my counseling psychology and early childhood education days that I am forever intrigued by the mind and body connection. Forever wondering about nature and nurture and how they form us into the unique person we become. But also inspired by how we can change old patterns and ways of thinking in a way that brings us more peace and contentedness. For example, the magic I’ve seen in offering kindness to others has come to be the most powerful act I can conduct in my life and my photography world. I remind myself everyday of the power of kindness and try to keep to myself when I am unable to offer it. I’ve learned that my negativity, though real and emotionally beautiful in its own way, like a summer thunderstorm after a hot, humid day in Massachusetts, does only harm to others if I am still within it. Its use comes later when I can reflect on it from a detached space and relate to others and their experience of it either in conversation or photograph. An open mind and space for every kind of human allows me to be fully present with them and see the beauty in them and then I photograph through that “lens”.
As you can imagine, since we can all be so different, I don’t get a consistent light and airy look, which is very popular right now. Beautiful as it is, I try and remind myself that we are all taking what we like about others and incorporating it into ourselves to try it on. We keep what feels connected to us and let go of the rest, that’s how we find out who we are as people or artists, so I try and listen to that inner voice….what am I loving about this artist’s work and how can I see it in my own? For, most of the time if you love something in someone, you already have it somewhere in yourself.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Gosh, it sure does! I would say just start with that you have. You CAN make art with that. Remember that it’s more about your vision and what you see.
In my 2nd year of business I put away $200 from each session in a white envelope that I kept in my sock drawer until I had saved the $3500 that I needed for the camera and lens I really wanted. The Nikon Full Frame D700 (new at the time) and a 50mm f.1.4 lens.
I prefer to shoot with a prime lens at a low aperture and I learned that through trials shooting with zoom lenses whose aperture couldn’t go as low as I’d like. Just try different ways until you find you’re getting the look that you want using the beautiful light that gives us the photograph.
Then, when I dove into film, ironically the cameras are far less expensive, but the film processing isn’t. 😉
Over the 8 years Cassie Green Photography has been up and running I’ve gradually raised my prices to compensate for my costs of film, film development and my time (pre session, on location, and at home processing). It took time to trust in my worth. I always feared losing clients to higher rates, but then again, my heart knew I was worth it, so I trusted in that and I finally feel that I am at a fair price point for what I offer, which goes far beyond just the image you see, that’s just the final product. Value yourself. Talk to other photographers. Invest in yourself and in your business, but not at the cost of your family needs. Like everything in life, it’s about finding a balance.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I have my website: cassiegreenphotography.com
My most updated work is on my Instagram page and that’s because it’s summer vacation and my kids are home all the time, so I have very limited time to sit at the computer other than to get people’s images processed and back to them, priority 1. 😉
- Website: cassiegreenphotography.com
- Phone: 408-547-7775
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/cassiegreenphotography
- Facebook: facebook.com/cassiegreenphotography
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CassieGreenLG
- Other: pinterst.com/cassiegreenphotography
Cassie Green Photography