Some Families and New Techniques

November 19, 2011

This is not a homework post per se, because I was technically supposed to shoot a couple OR children, not a couple and children. One shoot was all children (9 of them to be exact), even though a couple of them are in their twenties, but I took those 2 weeks ago, so I hadn't really studied the lessons for this week. But, I'll keep sharing my work and also how it is evolving in the context of the class. I will post homework within the parameters of the assignment for this week during our make-up week 5.

In spite of that, these images do reflect some things we are learning in the class to increase connection with subjects and get natural emotional responses from them. Brooke has introduced us to a concept called Beloved Photography, which she gratefully acknowledges learning from  Jesh De Rox.  It is all about trying to help those we photograph actually HAVE beautiful, meaningful emotional experiences during a shoot rather than only LOOKING as if they are having those experiences. I as photographer am challenged, through invitations and other interactions, to enliven the imaginations of my subjects and help them actually feel love, happiness, bliss, peace, joy and the like. Then what I capture on their faces will not only be genuine, but the images will have much more impact because they will be a record of a truly happy time rather than just a contrived representation of an actual relationship.

I like this idea a lot and I believe in it. I love photography because of the impact of images, and my goal has always been to try and help people see themselves as they really are.  I already do all I can to try and convince people that the photo session should be a happy, low-stress time. I already strive to get out of my comfort zone and actually talk to people in meaningful ways. I have started using interviews as a way to know more about folks and have real things to talk about.

But it is HARD. It takes time and a shift from outcome-based photography (what will they like?) to experiential photography(who are they and what is going on right now?). The goal is not to pose everyone just for the purpose of getting at least one image that is good enough to put on the wall, the goal is to engage the subjects and capture a few moments of actual living.

So, here are a couple of shots each from my last several shoots that give me glimpses of what's possible through meaningful photography, the kind of shoots where both I am and those I photograph are completely present in the moment. As Brooke is trying to teach us, I felt things while I was capturing these moments, so hopefully that will help you the viewer to feel things when you look at them.

This one and the one below are important to me because the 11-year old boy was a tough nut to crack. He had made a conscious decision not to participate fullyand I failed to engage him no matter what I did.
Suddenly he let his guard down and just wrapped his arms around his mom.I hadn't even placed anyone yet, but this is what happened for the next couple of minutes. 

This is a very close, fun family, but they are very disciplined and helpful by nature, so when I was shooting, they were really good at getting still and giving me nice smiles on cue. I like this one because it really shows their personalities

This one shows their reaction as I told them what their dad wrote about them in the questionnaire. Their posture changed, their faces relaxed, their gazes became intent, and they sort of melted toward each other. 

The story of this shoot was the darling relationship between these two tiny brothers. When they were interacting, they
came alive. The older one could ALWAYS get the baby to light up and smile, and the parents were so happy while responding to these moments. 

This one used Brooke's game of having the boy run into the frame. It worked
like a charm-I love this one.  
This was my shoot with 9 children. Their mom has NO photos of all the children
together and even this shoot was missing their oldest, married son. Anyway, this
is the oldest daughter (who organized everything as a surprise for her mom) and
the youngest daughter.  A. is getting ready to leave for 18 months to serve a
mission for her church, and she especially wanted to capture these moments
between the two of them. 

This family was easy. I just followed them around a lake and watched them adore their little girl. I hardly had to say anything. 

1 comment

  1. Hi Kellie!
    Great notes on what has worked for you with these families. I have found pre-teen boys to be the hardest! It is so cool that you were able to get some images of him opening up. I love the interaction in all of them!


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