One of the traps as a professional photographer, especially when you do a lot of commercial work, is that you can get lost in the technical aspects of capturing the image. It is very typical in commercial photography to spend hours carefully creating specific lighting and composition. I may be shooting a highly controlled product photography shoot on a set with an art director one day, and the next day a family portrait session. It is important to be able to turn off the technical side of the brain and embrace more of the artistic and emotional side when moving from a clinical product shoot to one of a child in a park.
As much as I enjoy the the professional images I have created in my career, the photos I cherish most are the ones I captured with complete disengagement from my career as a photographer or any conscious technical decisions I made while taking them.
The images below are close to my heart. They are simple and I am moved each time I view them.
The image to the left is a recent photo of my wife and one of our dogs. Isaac had been declining in health and we knew that he had very little time left. My wife had a very close bond to Isaac and asked to have a few photos taken of the two them together before we lost him. This was very emotional and the last thing on my mind was my exposure or critical lighting. All I cared about was that single frame that would capture how gentle this dog was and how much my wife loved him. This photo sits in our living room and I find myself drawn to it again and again.
This black and white image was shot with my camera phone while walking on the beach with my daughter. As the reader, you may view this image with very little interest, as it is just a couple pair of feet, but the simplicity and composition of this image is what has personal meaning to me. The photo shows very little and that is exactly what kicks starts my mind into remembering everything from that afternoon. As a freelance photographer, I work long and varied hours and this can impact the time I spend with family. Those two little feet between mine are a very powerful reminder to me that there should be nothing more important than the time I spend with family.
I find the most powerful photographs are the ones with subjects that pull you in and get you to fight emotionally with yourself. Sometimes, all it takes is two little feet to move you.