About

Why is it that the about page is always the most difficult to write?

Probably because it’s hard to talk about yourself without sounding incredibly arrogant.  All the same, you clicked on this so you must be interested in learning more about who I am.

So, welcome to my blog.  My name is Brenda Ahearn.  I am a photojournalist currently based in Northwest Montana as the senior photographer for the Daily Inter Lake.  I have been a full time newspaper photographer since 2002 and years later I still love it.

I am in the process of creating a webpage with my photo galleries and once I have that finished I will put a link on this page to that so you can check out some of my work. As far as my professional accolades go I’ll  keep this short and only to the ones that really matter to me. I’ve been winning newspaper competitions from early on. But the milestones that have really mattered to me are the first time one of my photos appeared in the Washington Post, the first time I had a photo in USA Today and most recently I was honored to have one of my images as the lead photo in a story in Time Magazine. Awards are just some judges opinion with their own biases and preferences. Publications carry more significance for me because these are about story telling from editors with hundreds or even thousands of options, they picked my work. I am both humbled and honored with these.

I am still uncertain of my exact plan for this blog.  Photography is the dominant aspect of my life.  What I love about working for a newspaper is that I genuinely enjoy photojournalism.  It keeps my skills sharp.  Keeps me engaged.  Brings new people into my life and offers me the amazing chance to see new things with access seldom granted to the public at large.  At the same time, my career does not preclude photography as a hobby.  Being a photographer is both my work and my life.  I consider myself incredibly fortunate.

This blog is going to focus on the photography that I do for me.  AKA 37th photography.  What is that you may be asking, well…

Years ago I worked with a photographer who introduced me to the idea of the 37th frame.  For all of you who have only worked with digital this won’t be an obvious reference.  It has to do with film and the days of bulk loading.  Bulk loading film is/was a cheap way for photographers to by large quantities of film.  By using a loader and reusable film canisters a photographer could save money by prepping their own film.  (This was one of my first jobs when I was learning photography – prepping film canisters for me and my boss.)  Back in the days of film – how I miss them – a roll of film was generally 36 frames.  However, bulk loading is imprecise. Sometimes you would end up with a roll of film with an additional frame.  The 37th frame.

Out of this extraneous frame grew an incredible tradition.  Photographers would shoot their assignment as before, but that last frame, the one that technically shouldn’t exist – with that frame they would make in image strictly for themselves.  No rules, no expectations, no thought of publication…an image that satisfied no criteria beyond the soul of the one shooting.

I have always held onto this idea of doing photography just for myself.  No thought of publication.  No expectations for or from a potential audience.  Photography just for me.  That is what you will find on this blog.

Photography has become the way I interact with the world.  It is my favorite means of exploration.  When I head out to shoot for myself I can spend hours looking for the smallest detail.  Looking for the one magical thing that is there, waiting for me to find it.  And when I do find it, everything that went into that, the planning, the searching, the resources, all it becomes justifiable. It’s hard for me to put into words but there is a song that comes close to saying what I mean.

Epilogue – by Susan Werner

There is a world That’s been addressed to you
Addressed to you, intended only for your eyes
A secret world Like a treasure chest to you
Of private scenes and brilliant dreams that mesmerize
A lover’s trusting smile A tiny baby’s hands
The million stars that fill the turning sky at night
Oh I suggest Oh I suggest to you
Oh I suggest this is the best part of your life

It’s a beautiful song.  I got introduced to Werner’s music on NPR and have recently become a fan.

Photography is my secret world.  And this is the place where I will document and share it.  Welcome to my blog.

Cheers, Bren

10 thoughts on “About

  1. Finally had time to get on line and look at stuff I want too versus have to. You are not just a photographer you are a writer and a good soul.
    Life has now just started to settle- I say started because I still need to find work but so be it- others are faring (Sp?) worse.
    I checked out you photography webstie as well- it rocks! Love you and will call tomorrow!

  2. Hey! It’s election night and we’re all sitting here in the photo room thinking of you! Hope all is going well in Montana – looks like it from all the amazing pictures you’ve posted here!

  3. Hey, Bren –
    I checked your blog in hopes of seeing our choir video, but got much more instead (would still love to see/hear our show at GUUF).
    what a talent you have with the camera and – wow – the girl can write too!
    jana montana

  4. Hey! My name is Gina Cabiddu, you came with Bob and Doris to my house for Easter. If you would be willing, I would love to ask for a little of your time to conduct an interview for a school project of job shadowing. Your a wonderful photographer and an amazing journilist and it would be an honor to get an inside view about your work. If you would be interested, just ask Bob for my information.I hope to hear from you soon!

  5. So glad I found your site. I saved a Tom Dorsey newspaper photo years ago that I love. It is fading now and I was hoping I might buy a print. The photo is of Salina Kansas women dressed as an American flag and may have been taken the year you were there.

    Is there a way I might get in touch with him? Thanks.

    • I remember that photo! And you’re right, it was taken while I was there. As I remember it, there was quite an uproar from the ladies because they wanted to be all perfectly lined up for that photo. They didn’t understand, or rather, they don’t think like photojournalists. If they’d all been just standing there, then the image would have been static and deadly dull. What makes it great is that Tom caught them just before they completed their action. You see them all, know what they are lining up to be, and yet, there is movement. He nailed it. I learned so much working with Tom. He’s a brilliant photographer and an excellent teacher. I found him listed in the contact us section of the journal online. That page gave his number as 785.822.1406. I hope you are able to get the print you want. Best wishes, Bren

  6. Hi Brenda, just a note to say how much I loved your pics, I’m an avid photoggin nut so I can relate to a lot of the things you write about, especially the entry that mentioned the Duff place in Drummond Montana. My dad was born and raised on that ranch, we spread his ashes there in 1983, he was Robert E Duff son of George Alexander Duff. My family still stops there when we go to Montana to see the relatives, I’ve got a number of pics from the old Duff place and they’ll always be special in my mind.

    Thanks again, keep on clickin,
    Jerry Duff, Vancouver Wa.

  7. Brenda, fantastic writing here in the About section. I know how tough it is to write about yourself. You conveyed your thoughts and feelings about your secret world very well. Keep on sharing that secret world with the rest of us, as your photos are great.

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