Master Shots: Frank Lavelle

Photographer Frank Lavelle interviewed by Sharon Kitchens


What has given you the greatest sense of purpose as a photography teacher?

I originally became interested in teaching photography because it was a way of making a living doing something in the photographic field without the pressure of having to produce pictures as a job. As a student I had always made mental notes about what worked and what did not in the teaching techniques of my instructors, always with the intent of being able to do it better, given the opportunity. To this day, almost 34 years after teaching my first class, I still strive to do it better each and every time.  Someone once told me that a photo teacher’s job was to give the students the tools and then step out of the way.  To that I add sharing my own lifelong love and excitement of the medium and hopefully passing it along.

What do you believe is your ultimate responsibility as a photographer?

First and foremost to myself, to be true to my own vision and do the very best I can. Secondly, but of equal importance, like a physician, do no harm.

What is it like transitioning from teaching to shooting for a client?

Well, in both cases I’m working for someone else and am going to try do the very best job I can, so no big difference.  Transitioning from shooting for myself to shooting for a client?  That’s another story!

What is on your to do list?

Well, I always think my best picture is yet to be taken,so keep on keeping on has to be right up there.  I love traveling to new places to photograph so that’s a fairly long list in itself with time running out.  I’m going to Turkey in the fall so that’s another down. Getting a job would make my wife happy!

What equipment do you use (most regularly)?

I’ve used all kinds of formats over the years but these days my Nikon DSLR does most of the work.  I think the latest digital technology is fantastic and although I consider myself fairly traditional photographically, I embrace it wholeheartedly.  That said, I occasionally break out the medium format film cameras for landscape work.

What is your most personal image?

This one is tough to answer.   I’d probably have to say one of the few good ones I’ve taken of my wife and sons, although they might not be among my best pictures.  Otherwise. I’d have to say they’re all very personal.  Why else would I do it?