I feel relationships between people very intensely. I like to play with emotion and comfort. A studio is a sanctuary. Incense burns at the doorway. Soft beats spin as we begin to get to know each other. My focus soon turns to what clothes and colors we will play with and a momentum builds. There is a delicious frenzy that occurs, I call it ‘the zone’ where the experience turns fluid. I plant the notion of sea and sky so that they may share even more and project their beauty, joy, longing. Nothing is calculated or predictable. Each shoot is different. I have no formula, no tricks... I just consider every experience a new day.
"Make me look beautiful..." a mother of four asks of me. Her friend writes me secretly days later to tell me how much the shoot meant to her, how desperately she wanted to FEEL beautiful, not just look beautiful. I felt this from her the moment we met. We turned it into fierceness. It is both of us working through fear... that is the psychology of photographing people. Their fear is one of exposure. Each person gauges instantly what they will show me, what they will hide behind.. A big showy smile, wide scared eyes... Almost all of my clients begin a shoot this way, always with held breath. They all seem to need permission to drop it, to be themselves, to shine... My fear is easier to sort through. Will this person let me in? Will I capture that moment that she is brightest? Am I making the most out of a set, lighting, angles, colors, props, clothes? Tapping into people comes natural to me. I try to break down barriers faster with each successive shoot.
In a recent shoot, one sister's energy shifted to inadequacy as her older sister pranced and played before my lens. I called the other sister in with the intention of showing their bond, their love... but her fear shone through... She looked at me and then looked at her sister and she began to cry. I hid behind my lights as this happened, watching, waiting... Without looking through the viewfinder I snapped the image with the emotion I was looking for... sisterly love... Her crying escalated and I suggested she go sit under my magick tree... I opened the red door, hugged her and sent her to release, to center herself... Then the baby started crying... and her mom took her out to the tree. Then the husband saw the image of the sisters I'd just taken and HE started crying... We stared at each other with wet eyes and then I sent him outside as well. I found myself sitting on the floor alone in the middle of a shoot... Such intensity... all born of love and fear... We drank tea, make-up was reapplied, the baby napped and more moments were captured. Those are the shoots I live for... In fact, almost every shoot is a shoot I live for...
In photography, I've found a way to make people happy... besides the creativity, this is what I love most about it. The feedback seems to tell me that I make people feel better about themselves, love each other more... If this is my life work, I accept it.