I’m a perfectionist on everything I do.
Everyone who has shot with me, worked with me, or learned from knows my entire preparation process, and the attention to detail I put into setting up each and every shot. Before I even begin adjusting my client I have to first find the best position to set up my main light to create the effect I want. Often, followed by the perfect location for the second light to add more dramatic effect. Then I have to adjust the powers on both to get exactly the output I want to create the vision in my head. The next steps address my clients, posing them, adjusting them, and curving them to perfectly showcase them in perfection. All the while laughing and remaining engaged with my client, so to them it looks effortless, free from hardship, and natural. But I assure you, if you take one look into my mind as all this is going on, I am the true definition of a duck in water.
It goes without saying that control is EVERYTHING to me!
I don’t just want everything to go as I intend, I NEED it to. Every light, pose, shadow, every aspect of every image is exactly as I design it to be. You can ask me about anything in any shot I take and I can explain it’s purpose. Thus, it goes without saying that the color of each image is part of my obsession. When I take each photo, I am not waiting to upload it to a computer and alter the colors and tones of an image…it is already how I want it when I take the shot. So with all that attention to detail, pride made me ignore the purity of simplicity. Of how effective something so pure as a black and white photograph can be. But that recently changed.
As many know, I recently attended a boudoir photographer’s retreat in New Orleans. I was surrounded by so many amazing artists. I learned from some of the best in the industry in lighting, posing, editing, and even composing. I took time with the amazing Craig LaMere, who challenged me to look at black and whites in an entirely different way. He challenged me to worry less about control and imaging, and focus more on the mood of the photo. He enlightened me that a black and white image doesn’t just tell my story I intend, it speaks volumes to the person viewing it, and engages them more to be a part of the story. And from there, I was intrigued to control emotion.
Maybe that wasn’t what he was trying to teach me with that, but hey, it’s my experience! I take from it what I want! lol And during the retreat, I linked with a model that was attending with us, Beth Claire, and put my lessons to use.
I must say, I believe he is right. I never really thought about the perceived mood of an image. Yes, maintaining what I wanted it to be has always been a part of my process, but I see use in engaging the viewer now. Besides, there is a reason black and white images have not been the oldest art form of photography for nothing, and have continued to survive through all the advances in the art form. It has stood the test of time because of how it speaks to the viewer. It has remained timeless because of how unique it is, yet diverse.
Control is important to me. But what matters more is engaging with those I want my photos to speak to. And with that, you will see much more in my black and white art