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.