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Bring your camera with you everywhere. Because you just never know.

That was one of the messages of artist Melissa Ann Pinney’s lecture at the Salt Lake Art Center Friday night.

In a small, near vertigo-inducing auditorium a  rather diverse crowed gathered to listen to Pinney, who’s exhibition Girl Ascending is currently showing at the Art Center. College students bribed with the promise of extra credit. Mothers and daughters bonding over the subject. And an inexplicable group of people drinking wine.

Pinney said many things influence her photography, most notably her Catholic upbringing and religious art. As for her subject, she says she just stumbled upon hers: Her daughter.

Being the uncultured country girl that I am, I may have missed some of the depth and perspective Pinney claims her art has. Honestly, I mostly just saw some very pretty photos. Her composition is amazing. However, I felt her art lacked any conflict. But, that’s simply my uneducated opinion.

As for advice to aspiring and professional photographers, hers is simple. Be candid.

“If I tried to set it up, I just wouldn’t think of it. It’s better to find it in the moment.”

Pinney also advises against cropping photos, even though it has become particularly easy in the digital age.

“The picture should be made in the camera, not the computer or dark room. When you crop the photo, it loses some of its structural integrity.”

Pinney’s exhibition can be seen on display at the Salt Lake Art Center through October 30th.

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