hosted by Kirsten Lewis, an amazing photojournalist. It was intense, passionate, and validating to my soul. I have been observant and passionate about photography since I was a child, and always wanted to portray the people and the world around me in a natural, real, and contextual manner, complete with the emotions present in those moments. I was highly influenced by the LOOK, LIFE, and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazines I found around the house while I was growing up.
When I wrapped up my college years with studies and degrees in Fine Arts and Child Psychology, I went to work as an early childhood specialist for Orange County, and on the side, I was photo-documenting my family, and working for magazines and newspapers in the field of photojournalism.
I still photo-document my family and do occasional work for publications, but somehow, with the need to make a living and compete, I became sucked into the world of "traditional photography," or in other words, "line-'em-up-and shoot-'em," and then process-the-heck-out-of-them kinds of photography, with completely matching outfits, freshly scrubbed faces, combed hair, and rigid posing.
I will admit that I often did sneak in the photojournalistic moments in pretty much any session that I did. And sometimes, crazily enough, felt guilty for doing so. At Kirsten's seminar, though, I lost all of that guilt as I realized that this is my style of photography.
Actually, it is more than a style. It is a passion, it is innate, it is how I think, it is how I observe. It is my visual poetry of the real world which includes dirty faces, hilarious laughter, temper tantrums, and spontaneous hugs.
Those who know me well, and those who have been my clients have seen that I have been evolving over the past year or two to come back to this place. For those who may be confused, I will elaborate on what this means.
While I am still willing to devote a portion of a family session to a traditional gathering of the bodies for some images of everyone looking at the camera and smiling, it will only be a portion, and only if you request it. The rest of the time, I will be observing you as you interact, do your thing, and I will document you in a Family Documentary Session. If you only want a traditional group family image, I can refer you to those who do these.
I will still make some clothing suggestions, and you are welcome to dress in a color coordinated manner, but I will recommend that people just dress comfortably.
After we do some traditional images, as per your request, we will then just have fun. If in your home, go ahead and do what you ordinarily do, or do some baking together, or take a walk, or go to the beach to fly a kite, or to collect shells, or visit grandparents, or whatever. We can talk about some ideas.
I will direct you to not pay any attention to me so that I can become invisible like a good photojournalist should. I will mostly be taking images of your interactions with each other, or your moments that are to be memorialized. If there is an occasional face looking at my camera, I will take that, too, if I like the expression and the lighting. At first, you may feel like you are too aware that a photographer is pointing a camera in your direction, but eventually, you will start to forget and that is when I will start to capture what will be meaningful to you.
I will also ask you to not try to control your children's behavior so much. I don't want you to say to them, "smile," except for the traditional portion, or to "hold still," and I don't want you to apologize if anyone has a tantrum or a melt-down. Life goes on and we want to document it for your family history and the memories that will be missing some of these details if the only thing you ever get are traditional images. (I have been known to wander off, down the beach, with a young family member who is weary of being told to hold still and smile.)
Also, I will not ask you to clean up your house and redecorate it if I come into your home to take images.
This should do for now. I know that you may have questions, so feel free to ask away. When you ask to book a session, we will, for sure, talk about it still, and come up with a plan that works for your situation. If you want something that I am no longer doing, I have many, good photographer friends to whom I can refer you.
My primary goal for making these changes is to provide you with the kinds of photography that is not being done that much these days. I want you to have the kinds of images that I want for my own family. This is the kind of photography that is the most memorable and most treasured for generations to come. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with traditional images and there is a place for that. I am just offering something in addition to that, something with a richness and texture that is missing in traditional images.
I would just like to conclude this blog by saying that one of the most intense parts of the seminar was as we shared instances wherein we had done photos for families and then, a week later, or six months later, the family experienced the death of one of their members. In these cases the families were most grateful for the documentary kind of images that they had. These stories made me realize how important it is to document our families and loved ones as much as we can.
With my experience in photojournalism, I have the talent, ability and the gear to get the kinds of images that you will want of your families to treasure for many generations.
As I do more of the kind of photography that I was born to do, I will only get better and better!