A Graduate’s Perspective: Self-expression Through Photography

  By Evelyn Drake

Recent SAIT photojournalism graduate Mitch Wiebe shares his thoughts on self-expression through photography:

“Photography, much like any other art, is a form of self-expression, which allows the producer to speak from their heart on a different spectrum of reality. When the art is produced, it’s awaiting the critical feedback from its’ viewers, like the ears of the ‘all-knowing’. To be hated or loved, the words create an emotional response from the patron, thus meaning, they indeed felt the work as it spoke through their own creative outlets.

From the first time I clicked the shutter button of my first point-and-shoot film camera, the firework of creativity began to colourfully explode within my heart and soul. I knew there was something to be chased, dreams to pursue, and a path to be followed; evolving myself into an artist photographer, the most I could be.

If one asks where I get my inspirations, it’s often difficult to share because stimulus is everywhere. In the simplest form, It could be a shadow being cast on the wall, from a plain floor lamp or more difficult, my imagination taking control in my dreams, to awake and decipher the idea and story to be produced.

There are two things that I have learned over the years that I will take to the end of my career in both technical and personal knowledge.

Art doesn’t have to be understood by everyone. It doesn’t have to speak to every individual the same way. Art is the story the artist felt inside from beginning to end; a dictation of personal creativeness that doesn’t have to be explained to the viewers. No matter what form of art one practices, the most important aspect of the work is to provoke thought and reaction from the viewer.

I have learned it’s key to have an opinion of my pieces. Whether it is negative or positive, it will help grow my creativeness. Without judgment from others, my work did not accomplish its’ job. If I cannot accomplish the job, I shouldn’t be photographing any longer.

Technically, and from the great knowledge of Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Photojournalism instructors, I must be highly detailed with every millimeter of the composition. From a simple hair misplaced on the model or a power line in the background, one could say that this could ruin or disrupt the photograph. Yes, we have all heard of Photoshop, but if we as artists can perfect our pieces without much editing or post-production work, we are becoming closer to perfecting our pieces the first time.

In closing, I’m a big believer that art is an inner ability that cannot be learned. Yes, we may have to practice hard, work long and try new skills and techniques to keep the work fresh and original, but the seed to our creativity was planted the day we saw light. It has grown with us, and allowed for a new language to be experienced and exposed. Never give up on art, as it will never give up on us. Achieve, improve, and succeed, in the terms of our own succession.”

About the photographer: 

Mitch Wiebe was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. He grew up in a family of five, which included his older sister and identical twin brother.

At the age of 15, Mitch received his first camera; a 35mm Cannon PowerShot.

It wasn’t until a serious and life altering car accident, and as a result, he acquired a brain injury; Mitchell became increasingly aware and passionate for the world of photography. As any amateur photographer, Mitchell began taking portraits of family and friends, and with no surprise, he received great response for his work. Every shot he takes, he finds wisdom and new potential of which he can apply to other exposures. Over several months, his photography skills increased exponentially and so did his eye for the world. Mitchell has self-taught his skill and his determination for success continues to blow the minds of his clients, fans, and art-lovers. He continues to give life to the old and unoccupied structures; as well, his keen eye for the unacknowledged and unknown beauty of our environment, induces thought and provocation.

As of April 2013, Mitch will graduate from SAIT from the Journalism program majoring in photojournalism. As he continues to develop himself and name within the industry, Mitch will continue his education at the University of Calgary, attaining his degree in communications.

Mitch hopes to work for an art, lifestyle or fashion publication here in Calgary to attain the knowledge and experience within the industry, to move along the lines of magazine publications in the future. He hopes to be part of the creative direction, and communications teams. Primarily, he would like to work as the publication photographer for editorial spreads in fashion and art.


Evelyn Drake has been in the camera business since 2004. She has been involved in every aspect of The Camera Store's operations with a focus on marketing and event-based initiatives. She also hosts our YouTube channel The Camera Store TV.