schram portrait two | vancouver photographer
February 9, 2010
“No one ever thought Clint Eastwood was funny, but he was.”
- Annie Leibovitz
I’ve been reading “At Work” by Annie Leibovitz lately. It’s a great read for a photographers, or any one who appreciates the arts. It’s a very casual read, like you’re just chatting with Annie over coffee. I love books like that. When a book is to formal it almost always comes off as pretentious.
I’m always fascinated to learn about how other photographers think about, and approach photography. The differences interest me, and the similarities surprise me. One of the most interesting things for me to realize is that people like Annie Leibovitz are just normal people with a passion and a talent.
They aren’t superhero’s or demigods.
They get nervous at shoots, they miss shots, and they are their biggest critic. They deal with the same obstacles, issues, and even insecurities as everyone else. They are people.
That’s why I used that stupid quote. It’s not profound. It’s just a person’s opinion.
Annie talks about this one shoot in the book where as she was getting the lighting right for some portraits, she shot a few Polaroids. They were terribly under exposed, but she absolutely loved them and did the whole shoot like that. The whole time, she says, her assistants and AD’s were begging her to shoot some with more light, that were properly exposed. They reasoned that she could darken them in print if she still wanted to. She refused, and was annoyed at their request.
What I found fascinating about that story was the thought that there were these people on the set, who would have been quite knowledgeable about photography and have good eyes. Yet, they were begging Annie to fix the picture. They thought Annie Leibovitz was taking bad pictures.
Now, I might stumble upon those same pictures and not even think about the fact they are under-exposed and have a sickly green light. I might (and probably do… did) immediately assume they are brilliant pictures just because Annie Leibovitz shot them (I really like her in-case that wasn’t obvious). But I might not really be able to explain why I like them.
Without rambling on too much longer, here’s my point.
Art is subjective, and photography is an art.
If you treat photography as an art, and you commit to the process, engaging who you are with it, you will inevitable produce good work. Some people will love it, some people will hate it, and some people could care less. Welcome to life. For me, photography is a life long pursuit. And even though it sucks sometimes, I love the process. It’s like dating when you’re a teenager. You fumble around, and it’s awkward for a while. But its exciting! And you slowly start getting the hang of things after a while. And I love it.
Last week alan, this week ashley.
wonderful, wonderful people. married too each other by the way.
I think one of the things I have found doing this series on the white is that it’s hard to capture all of a person in one picture.
people are dynamic, complex, and layered.
But I love trying to draw the characters of a person out of them.
ps: I stole those 3D glasses from Avatar. Don’t tell.