Objectivity – a lesson learning.

I have recently met a most wonderful photographer by the name of Emily Fairweather. She specialises in rustic Children’s portraits – natural, outdoors, a little ethereal at times, simple and always, gorgeous. You can check out Emily’s images here: http://www.emilyfairweatherphotography.co.uk/

She contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing some work with her, which of course I was/am. Having chatted, I recently went and helped her out with going through her images from a few weddings she has been doing, and getting them down from too many to just about enough! As with all digital photographers I suspect, she overshoots. I do that too, because I would hate to think that the shot I wanted most was not actually the shot I got and of course, shooting digital means you can do what you like – take as many or as few photographs as you want. The problem of course comes when you have to go through them and delete all the rubbish ones and find the ones you love, because sometimes there are simply too many good ones, but no one wants the same/similar photo twice.

When I do this for myself I can’t look at the images from a wedding until a few days later or I run the risk of deleting the lot! I have to give it just enough time for the adrenaline of the day to settle before I actually dare look at them, and even then, I am uber critical of them at first, but from a very subjective point of view.

Having helped Emily with hers, I have notice that actually when I look at my own images now, I am starting to look at them in a much more objective way, almost as if through someone else’s eyes; the eyes of the person in them, or the people or person who I am doing them for. So, for example, when I went through and rejected some recent studio shots, I thought mostly about what sort of photo Sarah would like to see of herself, then I thought about what makes the photo a good photo and then about what I thought I could do to make that photo better – not necessarily for all the photos individually. It was a big change as before I had found myself mostly thinking about whether it was an image I would like and that represented me as a photographer, as well as whether it was an image they would like. I am not sure I am explaining this terribly well, but I what I think I am trying to say is that there are many different reasons for keeping a photo or deleting a photo, but that the sole reason cannot be simply whether I like it or not. It has to be more than that, and that is why being objective and not always following your heart is one of the hardest and yet most valuable things to be able to do.

I really felt that having done this exercise for someone else, I am beginning to learn to not be so overly critical of myself, which is a very valuable lesson to learn. I have in other instances learnt not to take so many photos as well, whilst shooting next to someone shooting film, and that in itself has been an invaluable experience.

Claire Tom Wedding lores jpgs (10 of 251)The great thing about getting to know other photographers so much better is the amount of knowledge sharing you can do. All the people I have met recently have been incredibly kind, helpful, and communicative, not to mention, totally up for collaborating. I do really believe in the power of collaboration and that as there are so many photographers out there vying for business it is essential that we start to communicate and we begin to think about the prices we charge, so that we don’t undercut anyone else. Obviously there are different levels of pricing, but it really is essential that we become more aware of our impact on ourselves and those around us!
Tyntesfield lores (55 of 62)So, I am loving my new found friends with similar interests. In the last few months I have met and got to know a lovely group of photographers, who I think would all get on really well. I think it will be one of my missions to get us all together, even if it is simply to chat about fstops, the beauty of film, wedding traumas, memory cards and exposure settings – all over a drink or two. Well – it would be rude not to!

Love and fstops to you all, – mine’s a 1.8 barman!

Christina

Blow up

blow up pster

I don’t know if any of you remember the film Blow up… I didn’t see it the first time around as I am actually not quite that old, but in my mid-twenties my then partner and I bought a poster of the film. It was a photo of a woman that was completely pixelated so you could only just make out what it was. The colours were black and cream, red and blue and it was in fact a Polish design with Polish writing on it. The British posters were of the photographer and the woman, nothing quite as gorgeous as this…  I remember when I first saw it and loving it. Just this morning I was thinking about the effect of this poster and how after we bought it, I converted a couple of images of my partner into pixelated images, using the same effect, for a birthday present. So, since I sadly had to leave it behind when we split (14 or so years ago), I decided to get another one… so I bought it this morning!!! I am now very excited for it’s imminent arrival.

At the time of buying the first one I was working in reprographics and was surrounded by beautiful photography, extremely talented Photoshop workers, designers, illustrators and retouchers and I had never thought about becoming a photographer, but something about this poster really resonated with me. It was a few years later that I sat down and finally watched the film. It was all about a mod photographer who takes a series of photographs of a mysterious beauty in a London park and finds something rather suspicious going on as he develops the film. It is incredibly 60’s, a little avant garde at least for the time, I think, and is an absolute joy to watch. It was nominated for a couple of Oscars and won a number of other awards I believe.

I am not hugely into old films, but there was definitely something about this one that lit the fire of passion in me for photography. It took many years for it to develop, but this film, along with working in reprographics and publishing were definitely key to me finding my dream. I often wish it had happened sooner, but I would not be the photographer I am today, if that was the case, so I really can’t complain.

I recently did a shoot for Chrissie. She wanted photos done for a profile picture as well as photos for her reinvention, her rejunevation, her coming to terms with an ageing body and ageing face, and learning to embrace that, whilst also in the midsts of menopause. I was immensely honoured that she chose me to accompany her on this journey.

Chrissie July 2013 Colour BW LORES (15 of 132)We spent 4 hours together, walking, talking and taking photographs. It was a very valuable experience for me, and for her, but what it has made me understand more experientially is that there is something so incredibly strong about women in general, the way we have to go through all these hormonal changes at various times of our lives, whether it be the teens or the pregnancy or the menopause and how we simply just have to get on with it – transitioning from one woman to the next woman we are going to be. It is not easy, but we do it. I have also realised that the joy that I have felt taking these photographs of Chrissie, and more importantly, the time I have spent with her, showing her the photographs, and seeing her grow from someone who could hardly look at them at first, into someone who shows absolutely acceptance of who she is, and not just acceptance but ‘love’ for who she is, who she is becoming and how she is transforming herself, was the greatest gift anyone could actually ever have given me, whilst looking at photographs I had taken and enables me to know, truly know, that what I am doing, and where I am, is where I want to be.

Chrissie July 2013 Colour BW LORES (89 of 132)This is what Chrissie wrote on her FB status:
– just a recommend for all my menopausal or post menopausal friends – if you are feeling a bit crappy about how you look, sagging in places you didn’t know could sag, and wondering how to inhabit this ageing (gracefully or otherwise) body, then this is a tonic for the soul. A photoshoot with Christina.’ –

If I ever needed a reason to be where I am now, this would be it. I love being a tonic for the soul and if there are any peri, meno or post menopausal women out there who would like some help coming to terms with where they are and who they are and who they are becoming through going on a photoshoot with me, I would be only too pleased to help where I can!

Love and Chocolate (possibly the only cure :o) to all!

Christina