A Memphis Photography & Photojournalism Blog

RCF-Stop Photog Profile – Aaron Turner

For many photographers just starting out, it’s all about the gear. The right glass with the latest image stabilization functionality and the sensor with highest megapixel count are enough to give even the most amateurish of shooters the confidence to charge big bucks for their work.

However, for Aaron Turner, a strong grasp on the fundamentals and history of photography is worth all the flash diffusers in China.

Aaron Turner

“When I was younger, I used pick up the Commercial Appeal and flip through pictures. I never really read – I just looked at the pictures for a long time and got the story like that.” ~Aaron Turner

Aaron got his start shooting with an Olympus OM2000 film model over two years ago. The traditional film process is quite different from the expedient manner in which digital film images are processed. The proper ISO rating of the film must be chosen before the shoot, meaning Aaron must have a relatively good idea of what and how he is going to be shooting before he loads his camera with film. Long hours in the darkroom are required to process the images, which entails learning the different chemicals and how they mix.

“I put a lot of value in film,” Aaron said. “Almost any retouching work you can do in Photoshop on a computer can be done in a dark room through various processes.”

“It doesn’t matter if you have a cell phone, a disposable Kodak, a film camera or a digital model —  you are given just as much of a chance to capture that moment,” Aaron said.

Handy to start with abstracts. A unique way of looking at ordinary things.

Aaron isn’t strictly old school. One rarely can be in today’s field. He also shoots with a Canon T1i, a 15 megapixel digital model with limited video capabilities. He also maintains a blog entitled I Like Vans that showcases his own photos and also focuses on developments in the world of photography.

Aaron says that I Like Vans began as a celebrity blog.

“When I first got started, I was competing with hundreds of other blogs talking about the same subjects with pictures that have already been used,” he said.

However, as Aaron developed a stronger interest in photography, he began posting his own photos on the site and changing the way he posts in an effort to “localize” his blog.

From a series of photos called "The Story". The theme of this photo essay attempts to recreate a vintage 1940s-type setting with an emphasis on fashion.

Aaron got the idea to include photo essays on his blog from the award-winning independent magazine Mother Jones. He an afternoon of shooting abandoned houses in West Memphis sparked his love of documentary-style photography, which he has since used to great extent in his blog posts.

Another recent photo essay by Aaron took place at the Miss Black and Gold 2011 pageant and consists of a series of candid backstage shots.

“It’s beyond just shooting portraits – I want to capture people in their environment doing what they do,” Aaron said.

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