Pacey & Claire
MBA 7th Grade
Tibetan monks, The Kempos
Blake Farmer, WPLN
Pictures can capture more information than we realize. A sense of presence in the moment and sheer vitality can carry more meat than the mere what we look like aspects of a photo. Its the difference between capturing *how we are* as a presence, versus simply what we look like as physical objects.
Vandy Parents Weekend Committee
Most people do not love having their picture made. They say Its like going to the dentist, so before we begin I sometimes show the photo above as my minimum expectation for what were about to do. Even the nervous people laugh, realizing this might indeed be different from other photo sessions. Maybe not easy, but it wont be boring.
If youre with all of the people that you care about, all of the time, you probably wont think about wanting photographs of them. Photographs, especially portraits, generally serve as reminders of the people we care about, when we are apart. They put us in touch with specific feelings and experiences, and remind us what its like when we are together.
Most of the people I photograph, are somehow insecure about their appearance, or embarrassed about not measuring up to some cultural standard of how people ought to look. Our society isn't very appreciative of the 99% of us that don't look like COSMO or ESQUIRE cover models. As a commercial photographer I was often asked to make people look better than they really look, more beautiful or sophisticated, or suave and hip. And for the right purpose or as an exercise, I did not object, but as an accepted practice it contributes to false values and the non-acceptance that leave many incredible people feeling inadequate. So... after years of doing commercial portraits for advertising and promotion, I began to explore a simpler, less sophisticated approach to photosessions, hoping to validate more genuine, and even more ordinary, everyday human qualities. The goal is to give people a glimpse of the natural beauty they exude when their guard is down, and they are simply participating genuinely. Simple photographs of people simply being themselves.
Originally, the new sessions were designed for individuals, shot solo and barefooted in the studio, but as they evolved, more and more people wanted to include their close friends. Some say they are less self-conscious in groups, but clearly, most wanted to record and celebrate their special closeness, like a lasting toast to their caring and appreciation. And people certainly do reveal themselves in their relationships, which makes my work a real pleasure.