I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, “Why? Why am I photographing?” My kids are definitely asking this a lot lately. I have decided to explore this in more detail and ponder it as much as I can. I want to be more conscious of not only why I am photographing but why I am photographing my kids. Milestones are intrinsically a good reason. Being in a special place together is another. But as a professional it’s become more than that. Two percent of the time I’m hoping for a new portfolio image and 98% of the time its’ because I want to remember every detail of my moments with them.
I absolutely love photographing the every-day moments of life. They are so much looser and more informal than a styled shot. I love spontaneous images that incorporate a decisive moment. But I do find myself photographing my family because it’s a challenge. It’s become a game where they don’t want me to photograph them and I continue to push the challenge by not giving up. This is where I think I’ve gone too far. It’s fun when they direct me to photograph them doing a certain thing but a lot of the time, it’s not what I would choose to do. By that time I’ve lost control.
I know I photograph to have control. I especially like to organize visual information. Nature and street photography were my first loves. I would walk around alley ways in Long Beach photographing real-life vignettes and moving around to fill the frame with only what I wanted by using pure compositional control. Then I graduated to the alley ways of Italy, Austria and Greece and from there adventure travel photography took a hold of me. At this point the human element was minor. But, I am still really satisfied doing environmental portraiture where an image is about the place with just a touch of humanity in it.
It has definitely been about design for me from the beginning. Even when it’s a spontaneous image, it’s got to be composed well. I always go back to the basics of composition and the zone system to make my images. I truly love to organize beautiful, quirky and authentic elements in the world around me.
Most of the time I work with what is accessible to me in my every day life. I used to be able to take off on a road trip to find inspiration in a new place to make my photographs. That’s not so easy anymore. My road trips are family trips and I am still not convinced that my family as models while on vacation is working for me. I know my time will come again to venture out with the intention of making an image. Until then, I am enjoying my simple life and am finding beauty and simplicity in my every day existence with my family.
Why do I choose the subjects I do? A lot of the time, it’s the way the light is enhancing someone or something that I am already drawn to. Sometimes it’s purely the light that makes the subject appear magical. It is about the light after all. Without light, there is no photography.
I have definitely fallen in love with portrait work because it’s a collaboration. I enjoy seeing how my role as a photographer can bring out the spirit of another person. I am drawn repeatedly to portraits that are about the subject and not about me or my technique. I have a hard time art directing my own kids or making them model with props that don’t say something about them personally. So my next venture is to start working with models to express my ideas.
Why do you photograph? Tell me what makes you take your camera with you and pick it up to make an image. Do you know what you are hoping to say with the images you make? Or are you looking for the world to reveal something new for you to discover from behind the lens?