I wanted to take the time to talk about a few things that have developed in the past six months about me, my vision, my focus and my work. It was about seven months ago when I finally decided on started a project that I wanted to put a lot of focus towards and expand my portfolio of images as well as showcase my technical lighting and retouching skills. Some call it a resolution, at least those who set goals at the turn of the new year do, I like to think of them as short-term goals. Being my own boss and all, I have to keep on myself to continuously push myself.
To me, goals are more about growing your skills as a means to continue growing them after achieving your goal, whereas resolutions are something that usually get forgotten about, seem too much like work and are often a means to end a bad habit. What better way to keep productive at making images, push yourself and learn something new, or master that one thing that you always wanted to than setting short-term goals for yourself? The goal that I made back in November of last year was to build a portfolio of new work of Editorial/Fashion/Environmental Portraits that would support a book that I would then distribute to Editors, Art Directors and other industry professionals that have a demand for a photographer with a consistent style and technical know-how of lighting.
I was really happy that I was this focused on an idea that was decided on by this caffeine-driven brain of mine.
After a few really long sit-down sessions while going through my archives of the years, I started to see a few trends within my images that I thought would continue to challenge me but would also add a nice touch to the book. One of those trends was that I found out that I really liked to use the environment that I was shooting in to my advantage. That’s not to say that every environment that I shoot in is used but they do play a large part in my photographic vision. Another trend was that I found that I really enjoyed photographing people, more so meeting and getting to know my subjects. I’ve actually ended up keeping in touch with most of them. I was just the opposite in my early years, I loved sitting in the dark commercial studio shooting products – in-fact, I give a lot of credit to those products of all shapes, sizes and reflective surfaces, they taught me how to light but they sure did not have much to talk about or say. It was mainly a one-way conversation during the shoot, so those products might have contributed to some of my craziness, but most importantly the products taught me how to “paint” with light.
I also wanted to create a some simple and clean images with seamless paper and let the lighting and subject do the talking. Ever since the first few black and white prints that I developed in the darkroom I have always love images that cover the full tonal range of the black and white image.(Richard Avedon comes to mind) So by nature I was bound to create a few black and whites with directional lighting that brings out the mid-tones. The shadows are my friends.
So I started with a few images that I had pulled from previous shoots to start this new book of work. A few were from portrait sessions, some from shoots with friends and a few other pictures from some personal projects and realized there were a lot of holes that needed to be filled. It was pretty apparent that I had my work cutout for myself. I looked at countless magazines and google image searchers. I even went to the local library to do research – I know, a library, who would have thought in this smartphone-ridden world we live.
For the most part most of all my shoots are planned out with a concept in mind long before we start hair and make-up. Again, I feel that with an end goal in mind for a shoot, the outcome is that much more effective with a “general goal” in mind to “shoot” for. (Couldn’t help the cheesy pun there) I still have holes within my book, but I have sure have a lot more work that rounds out my portfolio and showcases my work better than what I initially did 10 months ago.
I’ll leave you with two of my favorites. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for following along on this journey of life and photography and feel free to use the social icons to share with your friends.