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Suddenly Ephemeral

I could sit here and tell you all about the esoteric elements that contribute to a photograph. I can talk about light, and texture, and your energy, and the timing of all those things as if they were some magical alchemic process. I could pretend I know what I’m doing but really I don’t. It’s that you trust me to do it that enables it to be so. You place yourself in my hands and mostly I rise to the occasion, but not all the time. What I show you are the base hits and the homeruns and not the photos where people do not appear as their best, confident selves.

The other day I took some photos of someone who was not happy with the results (not the gentleman above). This person was older, and was shocked to see how they look. Age can sneak up on us. Time can be cruel to the body. Our fragility can become glaringly apparent, Suddenly we are ephemeral.

I don’t like to disappoint people. I want them to be happy when they see themselves in my portraits. Sometimes beautiful people react as if they’d just seen Dorian Gray, And I have to remind myself that I have no control over that. My job, as I see it, is not to make people look beautiful - because I can’t possibly know what that means to them. To me they are all beautiful, and I truly mean that. So all I can do is try to convey what I see. When you hire me, what you’re paying for is my eye. Not my plastic surgery skills. I cannot change who you are.

But still, I feel badly that this person doesn’t like themselves in their photos. I wish they could see themselves as I see them. I don’t see skin, and bones, and shapes that don’t conform to beauty norms. I see light. I see the light in their eyes. And that’s really all I’m going for, that light. So when you look at photos of yourself, focus on your eyes. The light in your eyes. If that’s present, your soul will shine through.

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