the patience to be inspired

You may have noticed the new digs. Something happened with the blog template I was using in which the photos disappeared from Flickr and I was getting some odd error messages, so I reverted back to using a basic template. I went with a one column template because It will look cleaner and more interesting for the photos I include in posts. All of the other stuff that used to be on the sides of the blog is below, at the bottom of this page.

composition and contrast

I haven't blogged for awhile, so I decided to sort of dip back in by posting this lovely picture and talking a little about my inspiration and implementation as a photographer and artist, because I think that this particular image is sort of exemplary of it. Maybe I'll do similar posts once in awhile with some hints, it sounds like it might be fun.

This is a new location, one I've been looking for since I started doing portrait work. It's a little park in Crockett, California, where there's a giant, dead hill perfect for staging anything you want. The model is Nicola, one of my dearest friends who lives in Germany but spends Summers in the USA, and has come to visit me in California for the past three years. She's amazing for that. Anyway, she was totally interested in doing some fun photo shoots, and we spent most of her visit doing just that.

I did not shoot this picture in black and white. I think I saw it that way, but taking the photo is just the beginning. Now, I'm pretty firm on a couple of things when it comes to photography - one, I do not like overly posed and falsely-lit work - I do not carry lights to my jobs and I don't do a whole lot of posing (as those of you who have posed for me know). Of course, I do a little posing, but it's usually sort of suggestive rather than forceful. I believe that the best photos come from natural smiles, natural eyes, and natural poses. Some people don't agree, and that's fine - those people won't want me to photograph them.

When I took this picture of Taylor and C, I can still remember Taylor's tone of voice. I said "hold her by her waist and act as if you're going to set her down." She asked me more questions, and I didn't answer, and I was already in position to take the photo so I didn't go near her. She said "you mean like this?...um, ok...."
First Birthday

And the photo speaks for itself. It's that little bit of guidance that goes a long way. My shoot with Nicola was very similar. I was standing, as you can tell, really, really far away from her, at the bottom of the hill. I told her to jaunt around in that fantastic dress. She did. This was my favorite of the few I took, in which she's looking at me but moving herself in a natural way. (I think in her head she knew I wanted her to run, since I had been asking her to do more of it all week, hehe)

The second rule I have about photography is: tricks should be used to make an image what it should be...not what it isn't. I don't have crazy rules about not adjusting work, or totally adjusting work. Some things I leave very much as they come out of the camera, save for a little bit of sharpening, and color adjustment. Some images, like the one of Nicola, I process heavily.

When the photo is in color, there's so much happening...the sky, the model, the bushes and their pattern around the photo, the grass and it's random composition, and the varying color - The grass in shades of brown, the sky in shades of blue, the model's hair, dress, skin, lips. None of that is important, however, in this shot. What is important is her composition - the way she's standing, the way the line is drawn across the horizon, the size difference between the small bush on the left, the middle, bigger bush, and her body. The gradient between the dark sky at the top of the image and the lightening toward the horizon.

Not only is the photo black and white, but I used Photoshop to create heavier contrast - making the model much darker- to highlight her shape while still giving her some definition. The final image, to me, is one that makes you ask..."where is she running? Where is she? What is her story?"

All of these things combine to be the art that I strive to create. It's also the art that comes naturally to me, that I'm learning to trust in to create itself with my hands and my eyes.

I also want to help everyone out there see it, too, in their own photos. Our world is one massive composition. How you choose to frame it, light it, change it...is all up to you. There's nothing different between a person who takes snapshots and a person who takes photographs besides the way you use your eye. There are fancy tricks of course, that take time to learn, but a great photo can be taken with any camera, in any light, with any subject. It's all about feeling what's happening in the shot and allowing it to show itself in your photo.

I think the world moves too fast, sometimes. I am guilty of this - I have way too much to do and i often end up getting in trouble because I can't finish everything I want and need to. I'm an impatient Aries with ADD, and so far, the only thing that slows me down is photographing something that requires me to be patient to create.

So, my final word and request from you is: the next time you're using your camera, slow down. Stop for a minute and really look at what you're capturing. How should the image be, in the end? I think you'll be happier with the results and pleasantly surprised at what you can accomplish.

4 people's thoughts:

C October 14, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

Oh how i love that picture with the purple flowers. And the new one is gorgeous. I think I saw it on your flickr and was drawn to it. It's funny with your logo on it- it looks like the moon- like she's moonstruck or something :D

The post is very inspiring. I wish I had time to stop and think about the shot, but unfortunately these days everything is shot 'paparazzi style,' with me racing after C trying to get her in the frame before she runs away!

One of these days...

David October 15, 2009 at 3:36 PM  

see, that's why your meant to be a photographer....your images look to be entirely casual, not forced, but you know exactly why a picture is good or not.

Anonymous,  October 17, 2009 at 12:57 AM  

I do NOT have the patience you have. :) That's something I realized when I saw you work. :) It is true that it pays off though. I LOVE the black and white shots and the one year baby C shoot is probably my favorite to date. You are so talented and I can't believe you live so far away.

Killermanatee October 17, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

stupid question: Is the header meant to say aires instead of Aries?

Also: I now have a google account! Hooray!

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