Monday, April 26, 2010

Photographers: reasons to be thankful

Emiel is a horse breeder. He also helps out in his community doing things like driving the school bus. Here he listens to an amusing anecdote his wife is relating during a chat with friends and family at his kitchen table.

Emiel amused.

Emiel day dreaming.
As a photographer I consider it a great priviledge to be allowed into people's lives. When someone chooses to share a few moments of their life with you in front of your camera it is a gift.

I have the impression that some photographers think that owning a camera gives them the right to take photographs of anyone they come across. I do not share that view. To me every smile or glance that says, "Yes, it's fine; you can take a picture of me," is a precious gift, to be treated with respect and care,and to honoured with the best photograph that I can make.

It's sad that when someone says "no" to a photographer they go away in a huff, feeling angry and rejected, as if their camera has given them some sort of blank cheque on people's time and presence in front of their lens. The world and the people in it owe us nothing as photographers.

My feelings extend to professional models too. Sure they're earning money and paid to pose for the photographer but what they choose to give us is up to them. If you treat a model with respect and enjoy the art they create in front of your lens you will achieve far more than you would shouting orders like a mini-dictator. Now some of you may be thinking of a really difficult model and session...but if a model really does not want to work with you then move on and find one that does want to create art together. Your best work is unlikely to happen in an environment filled with anger and ill will.

But I digress. Certainly for photojournalists and documentary photographers being able to share people's lives, often during difficult times is a privilege.

Till soon,

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