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If I Had It To Do All Over Again - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
If I Had It To Do All Over Again
I would try to turn photography into a career. Given the right set-up and a few lucky breaks, I could be a pretty good candid photographer for weddings and the like. I'm not very good at posing people. But if I hang around them long enough with my camera in hand, I usually find a way to slip into the zone of invisibility that professionals need to inhabit.

Consider these shots of Skylar and her best friend, taken at the conclusion to today's field trip to the Desert Museum. At first, they were both very conscious of the camera:

It's harder to tell with Skylar, because she's so used to having me snapping away in close proximity to her person. Trust me, though, when I say that her looking away from the camera is as much a performance for the photographer as her friend's staring into the lens. It's a wonderful photo. One I will treasure for the joy it conveys. But the truth in it is stretched a little thin. Their smiles aren't lies, but my presence was too much of a factor in their shaping.

I continued shooting as I sat across from them, intermittently putting down the camera to talk to them or the lonely girl at my side. Eventually, they seemed to forget what I was doing, a turnabout abetted by the fact that I wasn't looking through the viewfinder and barely even glanced at the camera's screen:

I don't want to argue that the photos I got at this juncture are better than the overtly posed one from earlier in the shoot, but they do feel deeper somehow. When I look at them I see a deeper truth. There may even be too much insight in this second picture, but I'll gladly take that risk.

Tags: , ,
Mode: übermüde
Muse: an inexplicable memory of The Prodigy

6 comments or Leave a comment
From: e4q Date: March 21st, 2006 11:24 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

greener grass?

on the other hand the top one is really dynamic. if you were a wedding photographer you would have to give them some of that. i bet you would be   
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 21st, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: greener grass?

Well, maybe not that bored, since I do like seeing people happy, even when they are people I don't know. Since it's my daughter, I'm just delighted to see her having fun. But, yes, I would only want to work for folks who were willing to let me give them introspective shots too.
From: e4q Date: March 21st, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: greener grass?

plus having to do it day in day out with people you don't find visually interesting, necessarily. different matter with your 'own' photos whether that is family or, like me, with the citynoise pics.
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: March 21st, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Myself, I am very interested in what people deliberately show the camera. It tells me a lot about what they think is important, or good, and what is bad and undesirable; but also, what they don't think is important, and what they decide it is not necessary to control, and what they think is hidden or invisible.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 21st, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Of course. And you do a superb job of recording that. It's just that, for my part, I'm not proficient -- at least not yet -- in eliciting performances that go beyond the superficial sort, except with Skylar, who is used to me with the camera in hand. I love how your work gets to a deeper something through posing. I often think that your portraits feel like the sort from the early days of photography, when it was necessary to hold a pose for a long time. There's a gravity to your images, even when they are lighthearted. It's inspiring to me.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 21st, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Also. . .

I also think there's a difference between working with children and adults, not to mention between people who want their photos taken and people who don't or are, at the very least, indifferent.
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