From the Inside Out

So what draws me into a subject? I am not always sure. Today I have a new model coming into the studio to work. We have done a preliminary shoot a week or so back that was mostly testing to see how he would react to the process and how the process will react to him. Whenever possible I love to pre shoot with potential subjects before I actually begin to design a shoot around them. It puts us on a common ground where we can communicate and develop a common vocabulary. They gain a basic understanding of the process and what I am looking for. After I have processed the images we look at them together and they make the connections and adjustments to how I coached them and I can see how they respond to my direction. Most of the time I have a clear vision of what I am looking for in an image with everyone, but this person I have not quite connected with yet. He has beautiful skin and clear eyes and takes direction very well. He seems a bit self-conscience about his body but is willing to take it where I am willing to lead. He has a strong sense of fashion and is drawn to texture. This subject is also interested in creating a modeling portfolio and I think he could pull it off. He is in his early 20’s and his body has not quite developed yet to have a lot of tone and definition. I have not completely connected to this subject yet because he has always brought one of his girlfriends into the initial meeting and the preliminary shoots and seemed very distracted by their presence. When I work with someone in the studio we need to be completely in tune with each other. The space needs to be clear of all distraction to be in complete touch with this subject and discover what I find alluring about them. It is essential that they do not become self-conscience at any time during the process and must be allowed to explore their own identity. I especially find this when I am shooting senior portraits. Often times when parents come with their kids, they do all the talking, thinking their kid is too shy and will not talk. If the subject is not allowed to express themselves it becomes difficult to get a clear idea of who they really are; then they become mirrors of how they are perceived by others. Most everyone eventually opens up and allows you a window into their identity but it’s based on building trust. It is my job then to interpret this identity and translate it into an image that best represents who they are. I tend to be drawn from the inside first and then bring it external. Whereas so many photographers approach their subjects from the external and only look at the surface. Yes they get a good representation of that person, but so many of those images have no life and are devoid of any kind of personality. To me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore who they are. They are only going to be here at this moment only once and we must look to preserve it in the image for an eternity.