Blog #45 Getting Intimate with Your Subject
Now that I have your attention, I would like to encourage you to make images that include gestures and intimacy. I am not talking about being inappropriate during a portrait shoot here. The photographer is a professional and does not cross that line with their subject. Nevertheless, rather than launch into an ethics debate here, I prefer to focus on making images that count, images that matter.
One way to make images that count, or images that matter is to include gesture or intimacy into the frame. This is much easier said than done. It is really difficult to make an exciting or memorable image of a person simply walking down the street. Many of us fall prey to this type of cliché image or proverbial low hanging fruit. I am guilty of this practice from time to time as well. It is a false belief to expect that simply because the image meant something to you because of how you felt when you made it, that feeling will automatically translate to the viewer. This quote from W. Eugene Smith captures the point perfectly, “What use is having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling?”. Gesture usually include living organisms such as people (or cats, of course). Gesture may be of an intimate nature such as between two (or more) people who are in love. While many successful artists have made strong images that included gesture in their work, perhaps one of the leaders in this area is photographer Nan Goldin who is nothing short of a master at capturing gesture and gestures with intimacy. For example after example of this concept, check out the book titled Nan Goldin here.
Intimacy need not be of a sexual nature. Intimacy can be between a parent and a child, for example. Forget your gear and settings and look for hands, smiles, winks, scowls, hugs, kisses, and drama! Avoid cliché. Let this new year of possibilities be about making images that matter, images that wow your audience. Communicate the feeling that you experienced when capturing that moment, through the frame, to your viewer. Is that not the ultimate goal of photography?
Happy New Year!
The light is always right.