08 November 2014

Bringing Back the Passion


Art Model, Kristi C. ©2014 Terrell Neasley 
"If you are not passionately devoted to an idea, you can make very pleasant pictures but they won't make you cry." 

Art Model, Kristi C. ©2014 Terrell Neasley 
I get to teach, learn from, socialize with, and mentor several local photographers, both professional and amateur, here in the Las Vegas area. I come across various skill levels most every week. I try to either impart or take away some knowledge at each encounter. And sometimes, its just great to be in good company. Some of those I come into contact with for the first time may find my perspective and demeanor somewhat... let's just say impassioned. If you can't tell that I am a little "off" when it comes to the talk, discussion, or debate on photo matters, then you clearly are not listening. I understand that not everyone will be inflamed or such as I. And that's cool (did you note that pun...inflamed/cool?). In either case, all wish to become better. I like the above quote by Ruth Bernhard. Everybody wants their photography to be moving. But I have heard few that desire to make their viewers cry. 

And here is the difference. Being moving can be slightly ambiguous. There is no real level or degree to be attached to being moved. No clear intensity can be quantified by simply being moved. I can be moved slightly as well as spurred into action. I can be moved by your work for a second and then forget about it upon seeing the work of another who's images can also be moving. So what is the measure for success when the objective is to simply move your audience? With no clear objective, the attempt can be lacking, misguided, and totally miss the mark. The only moving affect you have on your audience is that they are compelled to move-on to something more interesting. But there is only one connotation when you wish to make someone cry over your work. To cry is to remember. To cry is to have an emotion that becomes attached to your work and there-by giving your work life in someone's mind. 

Art Model, Kristi C. ©2014 Terrell Neasley 
However as the quote states, "...you can make pleasant pictures, but they won't make YOU cry." Now that's an very interesting part to question. Do tears go into your own work? That should be the first measure of how well your audience might receive your images. Now if you shoot like me, you'll tax your tear ducts too much on a yearly basis. But the idea is rather a question of your passion to what you do. Maybe not specifically toward a particular photo, or even a project. But for sure, it begs to ask whether or not you are passionate toward your craft. I'm not talking about the business of your craft as it speaks to what efforts are involved to generate profit. I speak more towards the devotion to the spirit of the craft itself and the devotion and commitment toward producing better images. Its hard to expect the sort of moving reaction you desire from your public when no such reactions are elicited from you in the capture, design, and presentation of said composition. 

Art Model, Kristi C. ©2014 Terrell Neasley 
Step up your game. Get out of your comfort zone. I'll even give you a hint. Lighting. Lighting is often one aspect of photography that is many times overlooked, especially artificial light or flash. You'll often hear, "I'm a natural light photographer". No disrespect, but in more cases than not, most of those who utter that phrase simply do not know how to use flash. But with some simple practice, you can make good with it after understanding a few principles and with steady practice. Then there are some who have a good understanding of lighting, yet never deviate from their signature look/style. Never going beyond a key light and a fill. Here is a thought. Rent some new equipment such as monolights instead of working with your speedlights. Try using radio triggers for you flash. Check out some new diffusers or a beauty dish...maybe a ring light. Just try something new. I recently went back to studio work instead of my on-location work and will do so again soon (once I get this friggin' boom fixed!). 

Art Model, Kristi C. ©2014 Terrell Neasley 
Devote some time to you work. Change it up a bit. Shoot what interests you most and let the embers of your passions awake there! You can't move anyone else unless you are moved by your own work. Appreciate yourself by getting out and putting out something extraordinary. And if you can't find the extraordinary, then by Odin's Beard, shoot the ordinary, extra well! Many, many thanks to art model extraordinaire, Kristi C for coming out of her modeling hiatus to help me out with this project. 

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