What gives an image power and feeling? Why do we like one image and not another? A great photograph tells us something about the subject and maybe even about the photographer. At least it can tell us about the photographer’s feeling about the subject.
I believe human beings instinctively know what is behind a photograph - the feelings of the subject and the photographer. It is this that gives it power, it is this which ‘speaks’ to us as viewers.
I love the phrase - ‘have a conversation with my camera’ - because it invites both the person being photographed and the photographer to participate in the creation of the final image. The ‘words’ are often not spoken, nor easy to identify. But the non-verbal feelings and ideas can be communicated to us as viewers. We hear people say “it moved me” about an especially powerful image.
It is this that makes for a good photograph and a good photographer. The ability to communicate nonverbally. The ‘eye’ to see when the perfect moment is being expressed through a look in the eye or the subtle expression on a face. It is the instinct to press the shutter and capture that look for all to see.
Photographing children and families then becomes about revealing the relationships between the family members, even those not in the photograph. A child’s smile directed at Mother is one of the sweetest things in the world. A child’s inquisitiveness speaks to our future and the hope for more. A child’s laughter lights us all and warms our hearts. The loving look between a long-married couple inspires us as well. Love lives. A playful family on the floor or ground reminds us of our interconnectedness. Every photographic session offers us so much more than a simple photograph to keep for posterity. It is a joyful experience of hope and love.
I invite you to give yourself and your family this gift. An hour or so in front of the camera and a lifelong image of love and inspiration to treasure.