Recently I enjoyed photographing a party of three: David, Maren, and the wind. I know the wind drove poor Maren crazy with her beautiful long hair flipping and flying wildly; but to me it seemed the perfect compliment to the energy and passion of young love. And it brought about my favorite shot from the entire session: David tenderly brushing Maren’s hair.
What I love most about photographing people is authenticity. I love using natural light and conditions as partners. I also love digging down, through and past photo-ready smiles and surface layers of what is easily seen, to the heart of something real.
Often I am meeting my subject or at least interacting one-on-one with him or her for the first time. I always ask the person/people to choose the location, which give me my first clue in detective work. Are they outdoorsy, urban? Do they love buildings or forests? Details or vistas?
I always explain before the session and as we begin that my favorite process is co-creativity. I will certainly guide how and where we shoot, especially at first; but the best ideas usually arise as the subject gains confidence and offers his/her own suggestions. Inevitably, the first 15-30 minutes is stilted and awkward, and then the subject relaxes; and, honestly, I do as well – I’ve usually secured at least a couple keep-able images, so knowing I have at least the basics of what I need, a huge pressure lifts. The subject relaxes and starts to enjoy the fun of looking for backdrops and interacting with the person/people they are with (whether others in the photographs or someone brought along, or even me!) Since I love to shoot in natural light, the sun also melts into a softer, warmer embrace. And the magic unfolds.
The highest compliment for my work is when someone says I really captured the person as they are. That is my loftiest goal – to let the natural essence of a soul shine through. When this happens, the person will always look their most beautiful.
Congratulations to David and Maren on your engagement! May your young love grow into deep, abiding, decades-long love: rich with the patina and texture we discovered together in Old Colorado City.