Friday, October 9, 2009
What that moment felt like and the three c's
A photographer's work is both visual and performance art. Painters paint in the security of their studio before the presentation of their perfected image, but the photographer does not have that security. Stage actors write their lines inside and develop their characters, but when the show goes on the lights are bright enough that the faces of those who anticipate them are not defined. The photographer knows her client as a mother, bride or consumer and is close to that client from first contact to final presentation. I do not mean to minimize the struggle of the actor or painter I only mean to compare their process to mine.
Confidence, creativity, and collaboration- those are all aspects of my process and they are work. A photographer's work is work. Everything valuable is, including the work it takes to make it look effortless. Work requires something of us every time we engage it. It requires looking inward, it requires thinking up, letting things roll off, and working with people and in circumstances that are less that ideal. All of this work needs to be balanced with self and creativity, otherwise that work becomes insignificant and deadening.
I love work, but loving it does not guarantee that my approach to it works. Making it work is a life-long pursuit that I am coming to realize is more significant than the image that results from that approach. One of my favorite photographers Robert Frank, whose The Americans exhibit was open at the Smithsonian last March when I was in DC for a wedding, said this, "When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice."
The above photo was taken at Paige and Mike's reception. It is not a photograph of rings exchanging, a capture of shoes and ties chosen- it is a photograph of a grandmother's happy embrace. The image of that embrace makes me want to go back to that Sundance patio where family filled the first two rows, and a bride and groom stood on the supporting foundations of their faith and promised to extend themselves to each other. And today, it is a happy and light washed photograph that embodies everything I want to be defined by and through as a photographer.
Photographers- speak up! I would love to continue the exploration on this topic.