In case I confused anybody by posting wedding photos last week, I want to be clear that I do not consider myself a wedding photographer, nor do I aspire to be one.
While I very much enjoyed capturing my cousin's SPECIAL day, my true passion for photography lies in reflecting the beauty of the EVERYday.
When I do a photo shoot for you, my aim is to create permanent reminders of the "ordinary" little things that were important today.
For example, I may want to show you (and the generations that follow you) the intensity of your husband's always-thinking, always-planning, always-loving blue eyes. I may want to show you (and all the people who love you) that your natural, genuinely happy soul-smile renders a tiny black triangle between your back teeth and the corners of your mouth.
I may want you, fifty years from now, to remember how cozy you used to feel when your husband let you borrow his down jacket when you were cold. I may want remind him how perfectly you fit into his heart space when you snuggled into him for warmth.
Those are the things I feel drawn to preserve because those will be the things that matter the most.
On that note, while WEDDINGS aren't my forte, I DO consider myself a COUPLES photographer. (And a FAMILY photographer. And a BABIES photographer. And...let's just simplify it as a "fun-loving SOUL photographer.")
My sister and brother-in-law, like many people, had not had professional photos taken of them since they were married three years ago.
We scheduled a session to capture this phase of their relationship: two professionals, just-beyond-newlyweds, living in Boston, feeling out this thing called life together and mutually strengthened by the presence of their partner by their sides.
The thing about photography, my friends, is that a good exposure is a FORMULA: there's a SCIENCE behind good lighting and an EQUATION for "proper" exposure.
What I'm trying to say is that pretty much anybody with a camera, access to the internet, and an intense desire to learn photography can (and deserves to) call himself or herself a photographer.
What separates a professional portrait photographer from an amateur, in my opinion, is the professional's ability to artistically represent his or her subjects in a COMFORTABLE state despite the fact that he or she is pointing a camera in their faces.
That's what I aspire towards.
Because let me tell you what: aint NOBODY instinctively actin' natural with a camera in his or her face. NO WAY, NO HOW.
But if the whole PURPOSE of a portrait is to capture the essence of a person's character--the very embodiment of a person's BEING during his or her brief stay on this planet--then if your subject looks uncomfortably cognizant of the camera in a photo you create, then let's face it: you have failed that client as his or her photographer.
I am not going to fail you.
Before every shoot, I have a conversation with my clients to make sure I deliver exactly what they're looking to achieve. That convo is also a great opportunity for me to get an understanding of my subjects and their general mindset going into the shoot.
My brother-in-law (perhaps you will remember him from this almost-grammy-winning rap video) was not unlike many of the men I photograph: compliant, but not exactly psyched for picture day. (I love him for supporting my soulful sister (and--oh--ME) by doing this shoot despite his hesitations. MUAH, P-Diddy!!)
I can't say I blame the man for having reservations: for one, he was of the opinion that people often look unnatural in photos. (I AGREE.)
He also said he didn't know what to do in front of the camera. (ME NEITHER!! Despite my knack for directing OTHERS in a photo, I'M A GOON WHEN I'M IN FRONT OF THE LENS!)
But then he said something that was as if he waved a juicy steak in front of a hungry bulldog: it induced much salivation and excitement in me.
He said he's not sure it's possible to depict the richness of a multi-dimensional relationship in a two-dimensional photo.
[Writer chuckles in a cocky manner.]