I wanted to start the new year off by getting some of my thoughts about photography out in the world. The last several years have been an amazing journey for me, and the further I’ve come, the more thoroughly I’ve had the chance to consider and understand why the medium grips me the way that it does… why I have come to believe that it is my calling.
I have always enjoyed looking at beautiful, meaningful, interesting photographs. For many years, though, I didn’t consider myself a photographer… I took pictures for fun. When my son Oliver was three days old, though, I took a picture that changed my outlook on photography forever. It was taken largely by accident – with a kit lens and the camera on auto – but something about the play of light on his tiny face, the way it lit up the downy fuzz on his cheek, the way he seemed to float in a soft cloud of blankets just like the tiny angel he was… it hit me. Hard. I looked at that image on my computer screen, and it was as if I had somehow bottled up the perfection of this small human being who was, now and forever, my son.
They say that of your senses, smell is the most closely linked with the part of the brain that forms and recalls emotional memories, and having experienced that powerful link many times myself, I absolutely agree. The day I saw that picture, though, I understood that under certain circumstances, the eyes are able to tap the same deep, dizzying, complex well, and I quickly became addicted. From that day forward, I started looking at images differently, portraits in particular. What was it that made a snapshot different from a photograph? What was it about a still image that could be so transportive? And most importantly: how could I reproduce the effect?
Photography is a unique art form in that it mirrors life precisely. Other media give artists more license to create works of imagination, whereas a photographer must observe, interpret, and capture reality in a way that inspires imagination. A portrait photographer’s job is to seek out the fractions of seconds that distill the essence of their subject – like an illustrator chooses the precise frame that best embodies the substance of a story. This is what draws me; and after years of practice, it’s what I believe I do.
You might have noticed a small change at the top of the page today. A lot of photographers have tag lines, but I’d never found one that seemed to fit… until now. I’m excited for 2012: a new year, a new tag line, and a new, absolutely exciting plan for my business… which I’m DYING to tell you about… but that’s for part II.
Happy New Year, everyone… all the very best!