Too Many Images... Repeats
You know that weird feeling you get in your stomach the first time you meet someone or the first time you do something exciting. Yes, we can get all scientific about it: the pituitary, the adrenaline, etc, etc… Even after all these years of photographing I get antsy before a concept shoot or a wedding. I lose my mental cool and have a tough time staying on target. To mitigate this crazy feeling, I will run through my shot lists, pour over client convos, etc. (oh check my lighting and cameras, equipment, go bags - nearly neurotic - nearly) in the days right before “the big day”. I figure if I have those details down cold in my head, I can run on auto pilot while those scientific chemicals wreak havoc, until I hit my stride.
When I get calls from folks I have worked with before, it is a joy! I can kick off my shoes and have fun. I feel fortunate to have repeat clients. By the second time folks work with me they realize I am a dork and surrender to their own inner dork. I notice subsequent portfolios get better and better because the smiles, emotions and reactions are true, not a stage show or parade smiles, especially true with kids and grown-ups need to feel relaxed too.
Another reason I love repeats, and perhaps the most important in my view, is seeing the growth and changes in my subjects, which is precisely why I became a photographer! Those fractions of seconds captured, seeing those stitches; a year or two, or five or twenty, it all just floats my boat.
Obviously, my worst (or best as the case may be) "repeat offenders" are my kids. I look at photo sessions of them from twenty years ago (yes, I have always put them in front of the camera - it’s a wonder they aren’t narcissistic morons) and, based solely on photo shoots, it’s a gas to see what is different and what is the same and interesting to me, how MY photography has changed as well.
Another favorite "repeat offender" is a friend of mine (go figure). I have photographed her engagement, her wedding (that was the same day as the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert - it was tight transition), her baby and family Christmases - with some in betweeners too. It is a blast to see what marriage and kids can do to a perfectly happy couple - hey now, don’t read it the wrong way. I cherish and love her trust in me to capture those forever moments.
A recent "repeat offender", just put up #3, a local band in Raleigh, nationally and internationally known for a good tune, I am Dynamite (if you read my blog you know the story- go back read it, it's funny). They came to my studio last week for some marketing snaps as they have new music coming out. It was great because I know they are generally goofy and always come loaded with a plethora of ideas and wardrobe. They also know my modus operandi and we end up with a pretty decent portfolio.
Before Christmas, I had the great pleasure of working with a couple whose engagement photos I did about five years ago. We shot at the same location but this time we added their new fur babies to the mix. I don’t think those five years have touched this couple. They are as in love and happy as the first time I snapped their pictures. If anything, they had a more confident air - relaxed and happy.
All this to say that I have watched a few babies grow, couples grow into families and musicians hit the bigger time… while I hold these time capsules my hard drives. Time capsules. Each photograph is so precious, even those I deem not worthy of my time to process. Maybe one day they too will see the light. Sometimes it makes me a little crazy to think of those time capsules precariously jammed into digits, clouds and metal boxes. I want to holler
Make a photo album like in the “olden days” with paper, names and dates. Yep, they will sit on a shelf and amass dust but then you’ll get a hankering to flip though their memory laden pages.
Last weekend we had snow in North Carolina, a rarity. I wanted to show the kids the last big snow storm we had (what was it three or four years ago?). They hauled out the photo albums and the stories flowed - the “I remembers” and the “remember thats” a bit like that cool rain storm in the summer - the smell of earth and happiness.
I have been passively working on printing family photos to put into more big albums. It has been a challenge, especially when there were TEN THOUSAND photos in my three year old phone. But as they say… there can never be too many images… can there??
>>> As I wrote this blog post I began to remember more and more of those special moments I have photographed. I think about time with its evil claws. My sword, my camera against this surly beast that stretches our babies and steals our loved ones.
As Always, Kyra