Cindy Wilkerson ~ CJ Wilkes
Interview about Cindy Wilkerson given by Ed Ward
Cindy Joy Wilkerson ~ Photographer
Cindy Joy Wilkerson is the creator of pixeLobby. Here’s a short interview with the “Mom” of this site:
Cindy, what are your earliest memories of photography?
I remember from the age of six or so that I just LOVED taking pictures. I used point-and-shoots all of the time. My grandma, Joy Adams, always had a camera in-hand and took pictures of EVERYONE. She archived our family activities as far back as I can remember. She always wrote the date, event, and participants on each image. She certainly inspired me from a photo-journalistic POV.
Did you have a vision for yourself as a photographer at this young age?
I was in awe of professional photographers, but could never see myself as a portrait photographer because I couldn’t imagine “posing” people. As a child I found the thought intimidating. It was far easier to stand back and observe. So a journalistic approach (Street Photography for lack of a better term) seemed more up my alley. But letting my imagination run wild, I’d become a National Geographic photographer and shoot animals in Africa, or I’d submerge myself in water – hiding out stealthily for that perfect shot. These dreams seemed far-fetched, but that’s what dreams are for. My thoughts as an 8-year-old!
Canon vs. Nikon. Any thoughts?
I bought my first DSLR in 2005 or ‘06. I’d researched for quite some time and narrowed it down to Canon or Nikon. I ended up going with Nikon because of the way it felt in my hands. It made sense to me. Its functionality, the position of the buttons, and even the sound of the shutter! LOL, little did I know, I would end up loathing the shutter sound when I started shooting weddings.
I started with the D80 and outgrew it very quickly. I couldn’t shoot without noise above 200 ISO. It was an older sensor, and the noise bothered me terribly. I almost switched to Canon because of it. Nikon shoots warmer and noise tends to cling to warmth. It made editing a nightmare at times. I quickly started to enjoy—no LOVE—the creamy smoothness of Canon images. It was obvious to me what was captured by a Canon vs. a Nikon. The only thing that kept me from switching was my investment in Nikon glass. To replace all of my lenses would be a nightmare. The decision was made, Nikon won again. The D700 was my next purchase. I only wish I had purchased 5 of them — I am so frustrated that they discontinued such a wonderful camera!
How did you make the switch from hobbyist to professional?
Initially, I’d only meant to capture images of my children, to document their growth. Pretty soon, however, I had people calling from all over asking me what I charged for a shoot. People from Canada, the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, everywhere! That is when I decided to start charging. My time and energy is valuable because I have five small children that need a mom too. So yes, I was a MWAC (Mom With A Camera). Now I am a mom with a camera who has become a professional.
I swore I would never do weddings. Another promise broken because people kept asking, even when I insisted I was not a wedding photographer.
I decided to try studio work and frequented a studio (SPA) in Mukilteo, WA, to shoot models. I had the chance to meet some serious talent there. The fun part was setting up my own lights and posing the models however I chose to shoot them. It was a great learning time for me. I discovered that I love to create images with moodier lighting.
How did you develop (no pun intended) your current signature style?
As I honed my craft, I came to find working in nature to be most fulfilling. In particular, I love to shoot my subjects in and around water. It’s so fun to create work that becomes more than a picture but a piece of art.
I had a bit of a rough childhood. However, that experience helps me to seek and find beauty in everything. I look at people and I don’t see blemishes. I see only goodness. I’m often told my work is beautiful. For a long time I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my images evoke the same response from so many. Then it hit me. I want people to view themselves in the same way I see them through my eyes. I don’t see the scars or the acne. I don’t see the extra weight or tummy rolls. None of it. I just see the beauty, and that’s what I want others to see.
What inspires you?
Beautiful personas. Truly beautiful souls! Movement, water, and moments!
I came up with a catchphrase that I feel suits me: “Capturing Your Dance in the Rain”. I think it sums up how I shoot.
Are you a SOOC purist, or do you enjoy processing?
I will never just end at shooting. I absolutely love the creative aspect of editing. I edit primarily in Photoshop, but use Lightroom as well. I love learning anything new and then implementing it.
As of late, my projects have turned to themes that my children and I come up with together. These have been wonderful for us as a family, and truly spark my creative juices.
Because of developing pixeLobby – I will come back later and add more information.