"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later."
- Stanley Kubrik
Yesterday, I went to my local cinema to watch 'The Dressmaker'. I love Australian movies and Australian dry humour. I know that this is lost on many, especially those who haven't experienced living here or mixed with Australians, and who don't 'get' our brand of humour.
Why do I love it? Because it's so interestingly real, raw and unashamedly 'gritty'.
Australians aren't afraid of showing all their flaws and idiosynchrasies. It gives rise to such powerful authenticity and I find this such a unique and endearing quality of Australians. This authenticity helps us relate to the characters in a way that allows us to be more accepting of our own imperfections and unique points-of-view. Because it's our imperfections...our idiosynchrasies...our quirkiness derived from our individual and collective experiences which give us our unique perspectives. Experiences that enrich our lives and make it so much more interesting, vibrant and truly satisfying, giving rise to gratitude. Knowing that in spite of, we can be happy, where ever we are, whoever we are.
Why do people watch movies? Why do I watch movies? For myself, because I can't speak for others, I love watching movies, especially at a cinema , because I can totally remove myself from my own life (not that I dislike it) to experience what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes. To be like...to feel like - a hero, a villian...to feel beautiful, poised, inspired, understood, crazy, deliriously happy.
Movies allow us to be totally in the moment of a particular character or characters, their lives, the era, and locations - to fully connect with that character and to feel the full range of emotions. And because everyone else in that cinema is craving that same experience, we feel comfortable among like-minded individuals. Often what happens is that during the movie we feel those emotions triggered by the imagery, the colour, the movement, the sounds and music - all so subtly weaved together throughout the movie. We lap them up and immerse ourselves fully in all these sensory delights. Later on, we begin to assimilate those feelings and emotions and they will often sit with us and will affect us all differently.
So what does that have to do with portraits?
For some, the feelings experienced in that cinema are left behind as they walk out the cinema door and step back into reality. But for some of us, we take those feelings with us and we sit with them and observe them, seeing which ones bubble to the surface and affect us. Now, some will observe and be aware that those feelings have been triggered and that is where they will stop. And for some, they will take that a step further. They will pinpoint the exact emotion or emotions and what has triggered it, in order that they may better understand themselves.
The better we understand ourselves, the better our ability to understand and empathise with others and what is truly significant to them.
You see...I am one of those who falls in the last category..."for some, they will take that a step further. They will pinpoint the exact emotion or emotions and what has triggered it, in order that they may better understand themselves." Because of my capacity for introspection, it helps me better understand people...to understand you as a client. For me, personally, being a photographer and an artist...a portrait or a photo session is not just about the photo.
For you as the client, you don't necessarily need to know what motivates you, or what drives or impels you to have a portrait or photo session, or to engage my services as a photographer, but you will obviously know that you do want one (though I will help you to choose a way for you to have a visual reminder of your experience). But for me, my best work is created when I know what motivates you, drives you, impels you to have a photo session, portrait, documentary session. My ability to connect with the feelings linking to that motivation is what allows me to see you for who you truly are so that I may reflect back to you those moments and feelings of significance.
At the time you may not even realise what is happening. Because the process I engage to uncover your little idiosynchrasies, those feelings that trigger or evoke your strongest emotions are , is what becomes part of the whole experience that I want you to have. Those quirky little things about you are what gives rise to my creative vision for your particular shoot.
All I need you to do is to trust in the process...to allow yourself to share a little of who you are, to dream a little and to tap into those emotions that evoke something within you. And to come along for the ride and see what surprises are in store for you. And I'm not just talking about surprises in the finished images. I'm talking about the process I engage that can encourage and support your own awareness, so that you may better understand what is truly meaningful to you and what makes you uniquely you.
Best of all, and what I'm passionate about giving my clients, is that once you go through my process of a photo shoot, you have a better capacity to appreciate your own contribution. You also come to understand your own intrinsic value that you bring to the world and to your loved ones, and also the value that others bring to your life.