Let’s See What Develops, Pt. 12

To share or not to share, that is the question. Truthfully, I’m questioning how this particular inquiry fits in with the other, photograph related questions. Whatever keeps me writing.

*photographer interview questions courtesy of Courtney Slazinik of Click It Up a Notch.

What is Something Not Many People Know About You?

Yet, another question in this series that has me jiggling ideas around like coins in my pocket. I wonder if I’m reading too much into this question. Should I look deep within myself, and tick off some of the insecurities that follow me around like Pig-Pen’s dust cloud?

Maybe this is a more superficial type of situation? Should I talk about how, when a particularly sick, beat-laden song comes through my headphones as I’m working out, I construct elaborate music videos in my head where I’m the star in order to get me through the set or the next mile? With the right budget and wardrobe, I’d crush the VMAs.

I don’t think there is a right or a wrong answer here. For the most part, I consider myself an open book. There are some things about me that I keep to myself (my weight, my bank balance, whether or not I really did burn a hole in the floorboard of my mother’s car with the cigarette lighter when I was ten), however, it’s not in my nature to be secretive or mysterious. Honestly, I kind of boring.

What you may not know about me, though, is that when it comes to photography, I approach shoot as though I am the client.

Family portraiture is an investment in time and in money.

Most people reserve having professional portraits done for special occasions like graduations, engagements, weddings, and births. More recently, that circle has grown to include milestone birthdays,sport portraiture, and seasonal family portraits. With the holidays upon us, more people opt to have professional pictures done for their Christmas cards as well as for a keepsake for the year gone by.

Creating a pocket within your schedule, most likely on a week-end, where no one in the family has anywhere to be is like trying to find the Holy Grail. Now, add in coordinating outfits, haircuts, finding a good location (or having the house tidied up if you choose to shoot at home). I snapped the girls’ pictures last week, but my pressure is up remembering the orchestration it took to get it done.

Family portraiture is an investment in time and in money.

My wedding album is a Gutenberg bible sized, white book filled with the highlights of June 23, 2001. My knowledge of photography was limited to admiration of the style I would come to know as photojournalistic. Aside from specifically asking the photographer to recreate an image from my parent’s wedding album, I left the styling up to him. He was a traditional photographer and big on staged poses. I know now, that was a mistake, but how does the saying go? You don’t know what you don’t know.

When I look at some of the group shots from my wedding photos, it looks like there is a light fixture growing out of groomsman’s head because of where he’s standing. But for the photographer to telling him to step down or to the left, it wouldn’t be something I focus on Every Time I See IT sixteen years later.

It’s that photo that I think about when I’m behind the lens. I would never want a family to look back on their photos and see tiny flaws, like a bra strap that is showing, or a twisted collar, or a light fixture growing out of their head.

It’s that photo that has me talk specificity with my clients. I won’t simply show up at the appointed time and start firing away. I want to know what they like, what they don’t like, poses they want to try or to avoid. Do they want to be more relaxed or more formal? Do they want direction or do they prefer to do their own thing? Some people come with very fixed ideas, which is great. Others, not so much, which is okay, too.

It’s that photo that drives me to capture memories that can be shared, not for likes, but for long-lasting admiration.

Family portraiture is an investment in time and in money, but also in your family. It’s a way of saying that we are choosing to celebrate us. We were here, together. When we are older and parted, we can hold the framed print in our hands and remember.


Originally published at Hilary With One L.