Forget your camera. You are the vessel.
I’ve photographed, over the past 15 years, hundreds if not thousands of people in countless situations, from street and concerts to weddings and gala extravaganzas, and the one element that comes back over and over again is the same; I don’t know how to shoot with my eyes. What I see isn’t enough, what I think isn’t enough, I have to feel it to my core or else risk pushing my work down a certain doomscape.
Think of the photographic process not merely in terms of technicality or creativity, but one of uncompromisable emotivity. You’ve got to become so interested, so invested, so embodied in the subject matter that it naturally and effortlessly channels itself through your photos. It would feel like the outcome was meant to be; a one of a kind, unreplicable and untouchable, symbiosis of sorts. No one, not even you, would be able to get that exact shot again if you tried with all your might. It’d be like aiming to pin down the methodology of love and all it entails in a relationship in a how-to manual. You just can’t.
What’s the point though? Why go through such emotional trouble to get a photo that many might just not get or care about? Why can’t I just focus on pristine light, crafted editing and a beautiful model? Ah, but what is beauty my friend, if not the expression of love itself? And what is expression if not essence in movement?
That, now more than ever, should be our first and most powerful intention. To photograph with our guts, not our eyes and even less our minds. Let us not be distracted by pretty pictures pretending to be alive, and instead focus on genuine feelings. We might, perhaps, hopefully, surely, fall in love with those portrayed, and that’s all that should really matter at the end of the day.