Through Goodness | Behind the Lens
I am a long time admirer of the work and teachings of Sam Abell. Yesterday my attention was brought to an online talk of his and I just soaked it in. I've been fortunate enough to hear him speak and yesterday I was mesmerized for an hour listening to his words.
One of the things I love is how he takes an image and with careful, quiet thought he deconstructs it. When I sat with him to discuss select images of mine last year he encouraged me to continue shooting my everyday, ordinary life and told me that if I can make good images in this arena it will translate to my client work. He told me by making good images I will make great ones. It was an honor to sit with him and learn which of my images in his opinion were good, which were great and the one that was simply nice.
Inspired by his talk I looked at my images from this weekend with a careful, quiet eye and deconstructed two of them.
He says that a "good picture is one where he stopped and gave it his attention." He also says that you look for "setting, gesture, and expression."
In this first image I am pleased with the setting. The lights and the aisles in the background provide strong leading lines. I am always looking for leading lines. I was aware of Nancy Reagan on the People cover and adjusted my position to include it in the frame. I am happy with the cart in the background implying we are not alone but not distracting the scene with a person.
Where this image fell short for me was not getting just a few additional inches of height. Had I stood on my tippy toes I would have been able to capture my son's expression more fully and a stronger gesture. When I reviewed this image that is what I wished I had been more patient with.
But this is real life and it was time to start taking our groceries out of the cart and my helpers were otherwise occupied with one another. I will try this image again, on another day.
I feel this second image hits the mark of a good picture. Sam says you should work to "make pictures that are inevitable."
My youngest was in the "baby seat" and asking my middle who was riding on the end, "Who is going to kindergarten next year???" These two are repeatable creatures and when they started this game of ask the question, raise the hand as we moved out of the checkout aisle I knew it would continue. So, I used the steps to the door to take out my camera. As we reached this doorway I stopped pushing and let them play their game. I had only a few seconds as there was a steady flow of traffic of shoppers.
This image works for me because my middle is framed by my littlest in the foreground and the door to the right. His arm is a leading line to him and most definitely a strong gesture. The setting is OK as I had to make a choice to expose for him or the outside. I'm good with my decision because it gives him a cleaner background. However, I do like that there is still a nod to the background with the man, the building and the items against the wall still visible. And as for expression, yes, it is definitely present but its not directed at me. I'm not part of their moment.
I am pleased with this image and thrilled to have captured a very real piece of their childhood. Hope you enjoyed this peek behind my process.