The illustrious ex-jewelry designer extraordinaire turned fabulous photographer extraordinaire. Or something like that.
Rare photo of Bobby in action
I don't talk about myself very much on this site. That's probably because this kind of photography isn't supposed to be about me, you know? I'm an artist, I've been a painter and a metalworker, an accessories fashion designer. These other art forms were celebrations of something I created, but with wedding photography it's different. It's photojournalistic, it's about the subject and a space, and something real that's happening in the world that I'm not necessarily responsible for creating. The point is, weddings aren't my expression. The images and albums I create are stories told through my lens, and I take part of these experiences, but they're not my expression.
That doesn't mean I don't feel connected- quite the opposite. I feel my way through these albums, through the connections and interactions with my clients who become friends over time(or sometimes very quickly). I CARE- a lot about my clients. That's just who I am- I allow myself to emotionally available to the people I interact with because I want a life I can connect with. I never wanted a 9-5 I'd just show up to and do. I built this lifestyle around who I am and through years and years of trial and error finally found myself here in photography, fulfilled and really good at something.
Wedding photography isn't for everyone either... I speak to a lot of amazing portrait photographers and product still life photographers who've tried it and just didn't find a home here. I've also met wedding photographers who got burned out. With wedding photography, there is an emotional investment you make- you can't help it. You have to feel your way through an album if you want you client to feel their way through it too.
I see photography as endless ocean and I'm a diver, or a ship, an explorer. It's absolutely the deepest, widest artistic space you can imagine. I want to do literally all of it, and I want to all of it WELL. There are different areas within photography, and for me, each of these areas provides a different kind of fulfillment.
As a wedding photographer, I get to live in the social sphere of my personality. There's interaction and interpersonal connection. In wedding photography I'm appreciated, and I get to be part of something so important to a group of people. I get to create something meaningful and long lasting. There's a small fashion element too, and because there are so many details and different kinds of moments I get to use all the tools in my tool box one moment after the other, thinking on my feet, solving visual problems one after the other as they come. It's engaging, it's socially fulfilling, it's artistically challenging, and I need that in a career and my life in order to stay happy.
I also have introverted side. I love to be alone with my work. To be introspective. I get some of this from editing, but believe the purest form of photography is still-life. Still life is a deep meditation or exploration of light and the way it falls on a subject or interacts with a space. There is no human element to still-life, no interaction. It's just you and the subject, the light, your camera, This may sound lonely(and yes, it is, that's why I need lifestyle photography in my life), but it's where true photography happens, and it's where I learn the most about light.
Most photographers go one route or the other. Mainly because it's difficult to market two polar modes of photography. I think that complementary; I think that understanding and embracing many facets of your art form can give you new insight into all facets of your art. What kind of photographer does that make me? Am I a multifaceted photographer? Am I an interdisciplinary photographer? I'm still in the process of figuring that out.
Now you know more about my inner workings as a creative, my dilemma. I'm focusing heavily on wedding photography this year because I want Grey Fox to be more than just Bobby. I want it to be all my friends. I want to create a community or discover one that's already around me and embrace it, and once it's more than just me I'll be able to give more to still-life. I've developed a formidable talent in lifestyle and wedding photography over the years, and I know that if I want to offer more value and continue to improve quality while continuing this journey into the deep ocean that is photography- I can't do it alone. There must be an 'us', a 'we'.
But... Who are you Bobby?
I'm a photographer who got started in photography because I needed photos of the jewerly I was creating for arts markets and fashion shows way back in 2013. I always had a camera as a kid, my grandfather was a stock photographer and I inherited his N6006, took photography classes as a teen, at least three darkroom classes. I thought digital wold be a learning curve, but it was so familiar. I bought a d5200 for a class at the community college where I was studying art studio. I nearly failed that class because I wasn't engaged, and I was taking four other classes that semester, trying to finish.
The jewelry no longer has a dedicated website, but you can experience a snapshot of that journey on instagram
In the beginning I was inexperienced, I was cheap as hell, had no idea what I was doing. I connected with NZ photographer through chance who gave me his Lightroom workflow and showed me basic retouching, but even then I was pretty awful. I did create some cool images, and I was lucky- the weddings I did photograph were for clients who understood I was a total noob. They were on a tight budget and really just needed someone reliable, and even though I'm terribly embarrassed by those albums, they still love them. I think that's okay, but after being in the industry this long I do have some opinions on budget photography and I hope one day I can find a way to do my part to save the industry. More on that in a different blog altogether.
At some point, I went through a dramatic change. I split my website in two. One direction led the visitor to jewelry and the other went to photography. I remember I'd just created a line of jewelry I was calling 'Electrum'. It was all brass and silver, up-cycled metals with geometric shapes. Back then, I would usually create one collection per year, or identify one collection per year, rather, and continue to make pieces that fit within that aesthetic and story. I think I'd had two weddings behind me at this point. I ran a facebook marketing campaign which mainly consisted of sharing posts to a ridiculous number of pages- I'd picked up some of this from marketing and raising awareness for some of the drag shows, arts markets, and fashion shows I'd organized.
And then I met Pawel.
I was living in a tiny house in downtown Gainesville, somewhere south of the duckpond and northeast of Depot Park, which was still somewhat under construction if I remember correctly. Pawel had only been in town for a couple months, a handsome polish cancer research scientist who earned his PhD in Poland and was working on his Post Doc here at UF. Very impressive right? Things just clicked with us. And you know what? That's how it should be. If you feel immediately at home, safe, strangely familiar with someone, and there's no doubt in your mind that they're into you, hang on to that person. Then, later down the line, marry them and drive them absolutely nuts. That's love. Add a couple puppies and you're living the LIFE.
Admittedly I still kinda sucked as a photographer at this point, or I think I did. I wanted more, and knew that I needed to continue learning and experimenting. I got really lucky. I landed an amazing commercial client for product still-life. I probably charged them a tenth of what I should have, but hey, I was a noob, and in the beginning I was probably worth exactly what I charged. That job shaped me as a photographer. I learned LIGHT. I learned to SEE IT. And that way of thinking spilled out into other areas of my photography.
After some weird months that I'll always treasure, Pawel and orange dog and I moved to the NE side of town. We got a big place where I could really start experimenting and growing. That's where I'm writing this from. I have a desk in the office, but I prefer to work in the window, at my grandmother's old dining room table. It's always a mess, with a stack of old hard drives, my computer, tablet, and a pile of bills. But this is really my office. I can see my plants outside, and now we have two dogs who keep me company throughout the day. Orange Dog and Floyd.
Dey ar bery gud wunz
We've been here for about four years now, I think? Most of the growth I've seen in my photography has happened since we lived here. I recently went through my portfolio and found two major points of growth in my career. The first was after a 'summer portraiture special', where I went out of town and just did an absolutely massive amount of portraiture. Trial by fire. I didn't make much money, but did get BETTER. And then more recently, sometime in 2019 I took a masterclass with an incredible photographer from the Yucatan, Jason Buff- but I was simultaneously taking an online class from Karl Taylor Education. There's absolutely nothing as valuable as surrounding yourself with creatives who are doing what you're doing or want to be doing.
During the lockdown I 'pivoted', focused on my product still life portfolio. We're kind of at the end of covid now with vaccines out. Weddings are usually booked six months to a year out, so I opened up for weddings again about a month ago. I feel like I was an egg during lockdown, artistically incubating. I've emerged from it with a new brand, and this crazy focus and confidence that I'm not sure I had before. This new brand has been a struggle- I didn't realize what a commitment it would be. I felt so much excitement to see it finally start to come together- that moment where I could hear its voice. I'd been up all night working on the website, opening the social media pages and accounts. I've done this so many times, not just for my business but for my client's businesses as well. It's a new beginning, the preface to a grand adventure, a saga, a period of my life.
I can't wait to see where it goes.
Grey Fox | Bridal Photography Studio is a Bobby Foxx Photography brand located in Gainesville, Florida. We photograph love all across the state offering wedding photography, elopement photography, and engagement photography in places like Saint Augustine, Key West, and Saint Petersburg but we're open to traveling even further. We are wedding photographers who believe in human connection and the craft of photography as a platform for emotional transportation. We're an inclusive, LGBTQ owned business- whoever you are, we're going to love your love and we can't wait to meet you.