This blog post is going to be a little bit different. There is not going to be a spread of pictures at the bottom of this post. Not even one actually. Just some heartfelt words about a day that rocked me to my core. It has solidified some of my previous beliefs about photography, and awakened new ideas.
As some of you know, I was at a workshop yesterday – actually, a lecture. It was a room of 100 photographers there to listen while two amazingly gifted photographers and speakers (Storey Wilkins and David Williams) discussed how to tell a story through photographs. They spoke a little bit about how to pose and properly light, which was tremendously helpful to me, but probably of little interest to most of you. But, they also spoke alot about things that will matter to you. Family. Love. Bonds. They spoke alot about how we, as photographers, have been given a special job. We are the keepers of the spirits. It is our job to capture the unique and complex feelings that exist within a family and turn that into an image. Our job is not just about selling our products to our clients (it is however part of it – unfortunately it costs money to run a business and feed a family!). It is about documenting their family, their life. The things that are quintessentially them. A glance, a hand grazing a cheek, an embrace, a smirk. It is taking all of these, and through a series of images, telling the story about who they are as a family.
Then David did a little exercise. He told us to picture the person that we love the most in the world. I thought of my husband. Had he said people, I would have invisioned my family, but he said person, so it was just Nigel. But it was not all of Nigel. It was a very specific image. A little spot in the middle of his neck and shoulder. A spot where I like to bury my face. A spot that I quite often kiss. It is a spot that is just for me. It was a little blurry in my minds eye, because I often see it right up close. And, it was pretty dark. But I could still make out all of the freckles that live there. And after a few seconds, David had us open our eyes. And then he asked us if we all had an image in our head. And then he asked us if any of our images included a fancy backdrop, or a person sitting on a stool, with studio lighting all around them. I smiled. I have never been a fan of using backdrops for shooting. I prefer the look of real living spaces, or outdoors. Booking a session in your own home is not about showing other people that your house looks like it is straight out of Better Homes and Gardens. It is about capturing images of your family, where they are the most comfortable. Surrounded by items that tell the story of who you are and where you come from.