Friday, June 24, 2011

Reina's 1st Birthday

I have to admit, my all time favorite way to photograph is to be just thrown up in the mix of life and capturing it as I see it, as it reveals itself to me, as it takes my breath away. But I have this new obsession called that if I am not careful just might be threatening to take that away from me. Let me explain... is a collection virtual pin-boards/inspiration-boards from things you collect on the web. You can create your own and browse and follow those of others. People pin everything from home ideas, to wedding ideas, food, travel, art, it's limitless. What I seem to find myself using Pinterest most for is photographic inspiration (it is also fun to find other folks pining my stuff.) The photography that people find and pin is breathtaking. Just before a photo shoot I go a little crazy with pinning pictures of newborns, or couples, or posing for large wedding parties. Most recently I have found that pinterest certainly gives me inspiration but also gives me a sort of panic. I find myself packing up my things and hoping on photographic band-wagons before I even know where I am going, simply because I am afraid of getting left behind.

All the craze in lifestyle photography right now is props, props, props. Photographers are using furniture and frames and vintage suitcases and giant letters and wooden lips and mustaches on a stick (and I have certainly tried most all of this with pleasing results). And I have to admit there is something delightful about introducing the unexpected into the photographic frame. But as I find myself crammed onto the "wagon" with all of this stuff I begin to wonder where all the real, live people went? I am not saying that props are necessarily bad. More times than not the photographer is simply trying to create the conditions for experience, at least I know that is the case for me. You bring along a vintage scrabble game, because maybe, if the people actually play it you will see them as their real selves. Competitive, coy or goofy. But I have to make sure that the props do not get in the way of authenticity. When a client phones me up about locations and what to wear and what to bring I ask them about locations that are meaningful to them, clothing that they have in their closet and things that they enjoy on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes awhile. We fiddle around with posing and positioning until we end up on a quilt with a pile of books, a mom asking her son where the luna is in "Where the Wild Things Are" as his finger lands on the page. Beautiful. (Look for this in my Ford Family post.)

So, when a client comes to me and says, "I want you to show up at my daughters first birthday party at Highlands Hammock the day before Easter and capture the event, actual life, as it is happening," my heart leaps. No contorting of bodies into unnatural posing positions, no awkward moments as a freshly dressed, pressed and combed family stares in wide-eyed silence at me while I stare off into the nothingness looking for inspiration for their next pose, and not a single prop because, well, life provides it all. (Okay, yes, I may have had my quilt, and some paper lanterns in the trunk of my car but I didn't end up using them.) At Reina's 1st birthday party I followed the kids around as they played ball, swung on the branches of trees, collected Easter eggs and buried their faces in brightly iced cupcakes. I snapped away as the birthday girl dug into her cake and as she giggled with excitement when her daddy tossed her up in the air. This was life and I just happened to be there with my camera. I guess I am a bit of an anthropologist at heart.

So I am not saying I am ready to give up props completely, or Pinterest for that matter. These are two valuable lifestyle photography tools. But I am willing to say that I am throwing the fear of being left behind into the wind and working to push aside the fluff to capture the true authenticity of the individual and of myself as a photographer. I am easing away from those fears and off that bandwagon and watching all that stuff disappear over the horizon, but not without hanging onto my quilt, of course.

Thank you, Reina's friends and family, for inviting me in to your celebration to do what I love best.








About Caroline

I decided my destiny was to be an artist at age five when I won an honorable mention in a art competition in kindergarten. Ever since then I have been following a dream that has manifested itself in a variety of rewarding and delightful ways. I have practiced in the field of graphic design for over 8 years and recently acquired my Masters in Graphic Design at NC State University in Raleigh, NC (check out my design portfolio by clicking here if you like). But a passion that has stuck with me ever since I got my hands on my first Nikon camera in my undergraduate art education at Florida State University is photography. The instruction I received there was but a seed in what would develop over the next years of my life. Recently I have begun photographing people in their celebrations of life and could not feel any more blessed to be a part of capturing those memories.

About This Blog

A great american writer once wrote, "If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan my day." EB White penned the thoughts of my own heart. One part of me is a graphic designer working to challenge the world, seeking out problems and striving to create avenues for change. The other part is seeking out the beauties of the world and working to capture them in our memories forever through photography. This is what you will find here. Me enjoying the world. I have been truly fortunate to photograph such incredible people at truly beautiful moments in life. I can only hope that the images I've collected will forever keep alive those thoughts and emotions that swelled in their hearts and minds that day.

If you are interested in having me capture your life moments you can contact me by clicking here.

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