Photographing for someone else is a pain in the ass. If you’re lucky, there’s people at the site that you know and you won’t be ignored to the point of spontaneous identity crisis, but even then a photographer’s job is a lonely one.
Many people, me included up until recently, will think an assigned job is pretty much the same as everyday street photography. And they would be dead wrong, too.
First of all, people who ask you to take pictures for them don’t give a shit about composition, exposure of depth of focus. They want you to snap those two managers shaking hands, or grandma kissing some kid or other. More than once I get the instructions “To send all photos” without deleting a single one. Considering the fact that I’ll easily shoot around 300 on an afternoon (which isn’t all that much) in RAW format, meaning that they have to be edited or they look like complete and utter shit, they’re basically telling you to work about 4 hours longer on the batch.
On top of that, think about this: If you send the 10 best photos, they’ll think you’re a fucking genius. If you send all 300, they’ll think you’re “good” at best. And while the photos aren’t about the photographer, it’s his credibility at stake. Telling him not to delete the awful ones is like saying, “We don’t trust your judgment on what is good.”
I usually end up keeping around 10% of the photos I take, though I should mention that’s a habit I only picked up in the last couple months. The rest gets deleted permanently. When I’m working for someone, I keep 30% –That means a difference of 20% consisting of shots I don’t like, but have some contextual value for the client.
I remember editing a photo of someone while she was sitting next to me. I moved two sliders to make her skin look soft, and without losing a beat she chirped, “Wow you’re really good at this!” That’s how it goes: Flatter the shit out of them, and they’ll think you’re a good photographer. I spend hours in post-processing smoothing skin, lightening bags under eyes, and cropping out underbellies. And every time I do, I feel like a little piece of my soul dies.
What is awesome though, is that you are much more aware of what you’re doing. Instead of fooling around with a flash for example, you try different things to see what works best in the given situation. Trying to get your exposure spot-on every time, you’ll quickly set to Manual mode. On your computer, you can read all the camera settings again and it’s usually easy to see where you went wrong.
But, it’s still not worth having to say “Why don’t you give your son a hug and give us a big smile, ma’am.” for.
Thank you, you’re too kind.
My picture taking has been declining a little and to give it a boost, I want to develop my Gargoyle concept a little further. I’m in love with it almost as much as with gargoyles themselves, and I hope, in the long run, others will be, too.
I am planning to contact a friend of mine who’s a fashion designer. She is also a fucking genius so she’ll have no problem coming up with ideas to take things to the next level. In the end, I want costumes, poses, the whole package. But that won’t be for any time soon.
No, fact is that I’m kind of stuck with my ideas. As usual, when the sky is the limit and possibilities nearly endless, I draw blank.
Or do I? Recently I sat down with a notebook to write down a few thoughts. I was able to concentrate for once, and got into a good vibe keeping my thoughts organized. Half an hour and two pages later, I tore them out and dunked them with the trash. No chance in hell I’m suggesting that to anyone whose friendship I value.
I have no particular fetish for chains or leather, pain or dominance, but for some reason I am very interested in those who do. It’s because they have discovered a part of their own psyche others seem utterly unaware of. I don’t want to divert on it too much, but safe to say I have a fascination for the whole BDSM scene and I often wish I could fit this vast mindscape into an image.
I blame the internet. They will make anything seem perfectly normal, and before you know it, your image of society is warped enough to start suggesting things that are elbow deep in the “Um I think that is very illegal” zone.
Even more, I blame my first girlfriend. Damn her and the insanely open mind she had.
So yeah. First I’ll need to get my mind out of the gutter. You will sometimes hear me say “Every photographer is just working his way into nude photography” and of course I am joking, but I wonder if it is possible at all to bring the two together without falling into the “wannabe porn director” category. It’s a thin line.
My internship mentor of course, does nude photography on a regular basis and pulls it off like drinking coffee. But everyone agrees that this man is “awesome” personified so he can get away with a whole lot more than us mere mortals. When he hangs a sheep by its legs, guts it and lets the insides drape over a naked woman (not shitting you), the general response is “Where’d you find a sheep willing to be photographed?”
Where was I? Gargoyles.
See what happened there?
I’ll leave all that jazz for a time when I’m certain it won’t turn things awkward instantly, or if I simply stop caring for some reason. For now, I am trying to find something that is neither physically implausible or poorly developed. In other words, I want to make it seem like there could be a select generation of individuals living up there, watching us, in plain sight yet invisible in a society with a deadline, where potential witnesses are just too occupied and rushed to look- Really look, and spot them. Too busy to pause and wonder about them. Long clothes would make it hard to maneuver in a place where a mistake could have lethal consequence, and bright colors makes them too easy to spot. But, tight outfits look retarded on a gargoyle and grey shades makes them invisible on a photograph, which isn’t what I’m looking for.
I’m no artist so it’s hard for me to bring these ideas into reality, a skill I’ve always envied in others. Perhaps I should ask the opinion of those who are.