It’s been a quiet few days for us over Christmas. The kids are at their grandma’s presumably playing in the snow, belle was in bed with the flu which kept me, sass, busy making tea and chicken soup, checking temperature, changing sheets, and all that fun. But it also gave me considerable quiet time, alone time even, which I am grateful for. It made me realise, that I, too, experience a sort of fatigue at the end of a year. It’s awkward because it does not really mark the end of any particular season for us as photographers. In Central Europe one can say there is a wedding season broadly ranging from May to October. Events are somewhat in season in the fall. And then some firms check their budgets and squeeze in company portraits right before the year ends. So, no, not a particular end of anything, other than 2018. Has it been a good year? It certainly allowed for many exciting things for us. It started off with belle finally taking care of her aching wrist and getting that surgery done that she needed to take care of. We took the kids to California in the spring where we also shot and filmed a wedding. Had a busy summer as always with only a few swim breaks which then were the more appreciated though! Went back to the Bay Area for another wedding we shot and filmed in the fall. We met new people and old friends this year, lost some gigs and met some new clients, and gladly keep coming back to our loyal ones. We had wonderful encounters and some difficult ones, all based in communication, mutual respect, and the regard for everyone’s craft.
And as we are about to embark on this self-proclaimed new beginning which is a new year, I cannot but not reflect and conclude that “times they are a-changin’.” Our business is changing, our interests, and our focus. Photography in many ways has turned into a commodity. If this is true, then what does this mean for professional photographers? If the majority of our work is going to be seen on small screens, if handy little devices are omni-present to capture any and every moment, then where does this leave the craft that made all of us fall in love with photography in the first place?
In my opinion, vision comes before aesthetic though belle and I both strive for a fruitful co-existence of both in our work. I do not think it is necessary to have studied photography though I have a degree in commercial photography myself. With both of our various degrees combined our education spans from photography to bio-chemistry to tailoring to art history. Make sense? Yes and no. I firmly believe that anything you learn and study will make your work more profound in which ever field. Having studied photography though has not made me a great photographer. It gave me tools. It was not assisting renowned photographers nor studying old masters that made me a great photographer. It gave me insights. It is the sum of these things combined with years of applying it and responding to projects that has made us the photographers we are today. When it comes down to it, it is in communication where a project is successfully executed because any project is a project with and for people. So, apart from knowing our craft (and knowing your craft you must), it is the human quality that makes the difference in photography. Whether it is understanding your client’s need or making a person comfortable in front of the camera so they are being captured as close to themselves as you can do with a device.
I was thinking about what kind of images we can share to demonstrate this point. Sometimes we are asked to do corporate portraits not involving the corporate environment. Simple, clean backgrounds. I actually love these types of assignments because they require a particular sense and a quick pace which is just to my personal liking. A person needs to be grasped quickly. It’s a high energy job. We are sharing a few images of different series we shot for our clients. We had an average of less than five minutes with everyone in front of the camera.