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I'm so happy to have Xanthe Berkeley as our guest poster this week! She is an incredibly inspiring photographer and her images always move me. Check out her site here and her e-course here!

Thank you Xanthe for being part of the Eyes Open e-course!!

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How did you first fall in love with photography?

I got my first camera at 16, and ever since then I've carried a camera with me. Photography is my way of recording my life, I've always gathered memories through images and now I get to do that for other people too.

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Were you self taught or did you take a class?

I'm a mix of both...
I studied graphic design at art college concentrating on photography, super 8 and animation. But my photography and film work has really developed since sharing my work online about 5 years ago. Being on Flickr was the start of my journey, learning from others, getting involved in weekly challenges and joining a community of like minded people.

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What photographers have inspired your career?

All the women involved at Shuttersisters have inspired and encouraged my journey. Finding that community gave me the confidence that it's not about having a fancy expensive camera, it's about your eye, your vision, your story that's worth sharing. As long as you're authentic in your work and trust your eye, you have a story to tell.

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How do you come up with new ideas and projects?

I feel it's really important to shoot for yourself, just making time to work on a project without thinking about the result. My projects can evolve from anywhere really, it often can be a random photo I take that might spark something that I want to explore further. I love creating a series or sequences of images. Inspiration can spark at any point, being open to receive it and go with it comes with time and practice.

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You seem to have an incredible ability to capture authentic moments, true expressions, and such emotion in your images. What, do you feel, is the key to doing that?

Thanks for those kind words. I shoot what I see… I look for details… for the moments in between, and I try to gather memories that I think should be treasured. That's my mission for my family and I try to do that with my client work.

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What do you shoot with? (cameras, lenses, film, etc.)

Canon 5D mk2, 50mm 1.4 & 35mm 1.4, Lensbaby + iPhone 4s

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Where do you see your photography taking you in the future years?

I'd like to travel more with my work. Work with more families to give them memories for the future and continue making films as moving images are just important to me.

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What advice would you give to new photographers?

Shoot everyday. Shoot for yourself. Shoot till you see photos everywhere you look.

Find a project that excites you. The 365 gratitude project was a game changer for me. The discipline of shooting everyday, experimenting, carrying my camera daily, noticing the little things the everyday moments, has definitely affected how I shoot today.

Don't get hung up on needing a better camera or better lenses, work on your eye and how you see, that's what sets you apart from everyone else.

Do what you love.