Debbie Fleming Caffery: Facing Change

Just came across this while trying to find another video. If you don’t know Debbie Fleming Caffery then you have been missing out. Within ten feet of where I’m writing this post hangs an image of hers, a 20×24 silver gelatin, and I can tell you when you see her work you can identify it…right quick.
I met Debbie in Santa Fe several years ago and was blown away by she and her work. As she says in the film, she’s been called “art photographer,” “documentary photographer,” etc, but just know she is a photographer. All that matters. You gotta listen to this all the way, some classic lines in here. This video was created by Leica and Facing Change.

31 responses to “Debbie Fleming Caffery: Facing Change”

  1. Michael Houghton says:


  2. Peter Silvia says:

    Great inspiration from yet another “anonymous” photographer. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Brendan says:

    Now there’s good advice for all us lazy- ass photographers- get emotionally involved, and spend more than 2 weeks on it! Brilliant interview. I’d never heard of her before this- so many thanks.

  4. lionelb says:

    I wish they had allowed her to rant a bit more. I was just starting to get into it … Formidable in both the French and English senses.

  5. Nancy Van House says:

    Love it. “There’s no hope to be Betty Crocker at my age.” That and her comment about “lazy ass photographers” and being seduced by color. Terrific.

  6. I watched this last week (also came across it “somehow”) and I too just loved her, her work, the whole concept of the project. I took notes on it and also sent it around to some of my photographer friends. Great takeaways. I’d love to meet her sometime.

  7. Suzanne says:

    I’ve been a long time admirer of her work, did a weekend workshop with her maybe two years ago… she’s a real inspiration, wonderful photographer, her pictures are deeply felt, and she’s a real human being!! Thanks for sharing this, Daniel!

  8. Charlene says:

    I had a chuckle or two through this video. What a character! I’ve never heard of Debbie so thanks for sharing this one. She’d make a good long term project subject herself 🙂 It must have been awesome to meet her.

  9. Mathias says:

    I saw Debbie Flemigs Work and the video before and you reminded me of it. Again, I´m thrilled by both her photographs and the passion she has towards photography and creativity. Very inspiring!

  10. Brilliant, some awesome lines in there. I hope they do a video 2 and just really let her go off on a tangent, she’s so cool.

    • Smogranch says:


      I love hearing how people really feel. Seems like it would be a normal thing, but most people seem to be wary of alienating someone because it might impact their business. Honestly and humor are always good.

  11. lionelb says:

    She clearly has some issues with what often passes as ‘street photography’. I can relate to that. There is also an implied slap on the wrist for ‘pure’ landscape photography. Plenty to think about there. Good to see a real live tripod!

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey Lionel,
      I don’t think she has issues with street photography. I think she is just commenting on everyone working on super-short timelines. If you work on something for two weeks, think you have a book, you are probably mistaken, but the timelines of the past are rapidly disappearing. When I got out of school the unwritten rule of documentary work was to work on a project for ten years before you began to compile for a book.
      Last year I saw a show done from two days of work and the photographer claimed it was a “long-term” project.

    • jason timmis says:

      Daniel – (Smiling as I write this…my second time chiming in)…Although a hobby (photography) guy and not particularly attracted to street or documentary photography genres I must say aside from a good chuckle I get a real sense of connection with this (her) as well as yourself (and comments). After 26+ years in my work (trade) I am (most humbly) accepted as a master by my pears but all I really know is I still have a lot to learn. I can completely relate to the message at hand from her and yourself and really (think I) see the tragedy in today’s faster, better quicker model even though I choose to join it at some points along the way.

      I reflection to this post it has me made realize (or at least reminded me) that is why as much as I fight film and tell myself I should just go completely digital and focus my time (pardon the pun) I can’t quite do it. It’s forcing yourself into the slow lane…like I tell some of the younger guys that work for me, you have to slow down so you can speed up.

      Then of course we could look at this video purely subjectively and see an older lady with a 30,000 dollar camera sponsored by Leica telling us that shooting color is the devils work and laugh like hell….you know either way it’s all good.

      Thanks as always.


    • Smogranch says:


      I’ve had the same conversation a hundred times. I guess I’m suppose to go digital. I try to love it but I don’t. I like film. Want to do both. No reason not to.

  12. Wim says:

    Thanks Daniel for posting this! I love the part about getting out of the car and make a picture. So true and I must admit I was at the beginning the same but I have changed! 🙂 Thanks again!

  13. Leigh Webber says:

    You know what struck me the most? It’s the fact that she is an older woman photographer who has been photogrpahing consistently for many years. I found myself thinking… I hope I am like her in another 20 years, still passionate about shooting and living my life as a photographer. It made me wonder why am I so caught up in being known “now”? There are years to hone my craft.

    Perhaps it’s just the city I live in or the people I’m surrounded by, but I can think of lots of women her age who are painters, but not that many photographers, at least at her level. She’s an inspiration to me.

    • Smogranch says:

      Well, times have changed. Photographers feel they need to be instantly relevant today. Our timeframes are all in high speed mode. She just works, does her thing and does it well. Photography isn’t what she does, it’s who she is.

  14. bob Soltys says:

    Thanks for posting this inspirational video, and for reminding me to see if she does a workshop on printing from film

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *