This month marks a year since my photography world turned on its head. Last November I signed up, against all odds or even means, for a workshop in the UK called The DARE Photo Experience. I had no idea what I was going to find, or even if it would benefit me, but my gut said go and so I went. You see I was dissatisfied, bored even, with my work: I knew I was better than the images I was producing, yet something was holding me back. Could a trip to the UK really fix that? Well yes, it would seem it could.
You see, what I’ve come to learn over the past year is that it is OK to take photographs the way I want to. Let me repeat that – it’s OK to be who I am and to produce images the way I see them. Sounds simple, right? And yet much as fashion magazines portray the “perfect” ideal of a figure to women, we as wedding photographers often fall into the trap of trying to replicate the images that we see produced by our favourite ‘famed’ contemporaries. However, the point of photography is art, it’s vision – your vision, my vision, whoever is control of the outcome. There is more than just light and composition involved in working with a camera, although those are essential, there is also the way in which the artist sees the subject and the resulting image that they produce.
So what I’ve learned over this past year is that I am the photographer I knew I was. The images I produce now are mine – they scream of me and I am damned proud of them. What I took away from that weekend at DARE was a sense that there was something more inside of me that was restless, like a cat prowling around a mouse hole waiting for the prize to appear, and the journey that I’ve gone on this year has allowed me to see myself and my own style/vision/artistry clearly. I have a dark sense of humour, I love the macabre and I also love beauty and warmth and the inner workings of my fellow human beings: I see people when I photograph them and the images that I produce are exactly that – how I see you when you stand in front of my lens.
Since last November I have moved forward with everything in my life. I have travelled across the continent, been to Iceland (one of my big 3), moved to the UK, photographed 2 cookbooks with another 2 in the works, and am planning my own workshop with the amazingly talented and fantastic Micah Hewitt in Columbia, South Carolina next March. Micah is 6 feet tall, I barely brush 5 feet, she shoots beautiful free-lensed, light and airy, gorgeously romantic images, mine are dark and full of mood. We are as different artistically as 2 photographers can be, and what I’ve learned is that THAT is ok, in fact, it is essential. If you’d like to know more about the workshop, send me over an email – or stay tuned here for more details coming soon!
In the meantime, this is Rachael, the incredibly talented chameleon of a model I had the pleasure of photographing yesterday. True beauty is such an incredible joy to work with and I’ve been doubly blessed that way this week, first with the glorious Lily and now with Rachael. When I first saw Rachael I was struck by both her beauty and her height (6 feet without heels) but what really caught me was her hair – you’ve heard the expression ‘like hand-spun gold’? well that’s more than a reality here. And the way her hair glowed in the dark shadows of the medieval alleyways made my little gothic heart very, very happy. So this is Rachael, the way I see her.
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