Bring The Inside Out

I was recently involved in a “Portraits” art project that dared to delve beyond skin deep, looking for the true meaning behind the image. As a photographer, the goal is always to create beauty but a meaningful image should do more to draw the viewer inside. It should reveal a real person filled with palpable emotions. I selected just a few of my favorite past images that communicated honesty, pure of heart and soul.

Hollywood Noir  
Dark secrets, mysterious figures, and spine-chilling intrigue. Do you really see what is laid out before you, or is there something hidden, veiled behind the shadows. Living life under cover of darkness while dancing in and out of the light creates a perfect camouflage. A simplistic yet effective layer of protection from those we don’t want to let in. Why is there is a hesitation to reveal our true selves? It is human nature to want to hold tightly to what we cherish most: our true identity. Shadows create the ultimate mask. 

The teenage years are always complicated by divisive outside forces. The struggle to develop into a strong, independent soul is often a battle fought deep within, hidden from view. Getting to know someone well is never easy, especially when they often don’t even know themselves. During quiet times, if you look very closely, the two sides fighting to create one beautiful person will reveal themselves in a single instant. 

It would be nice to believe the old saying that “the eyes are the window to the soul” was true. However, I'm not convinced this is always the case. Do we really claim to know what others are thinking simply based on a picture? Are we, as the viewer and not the confidant of the model, simply projecting our beliefs upon someone else? I've worked with this model countless times, yet I'm still not certain what was going on behind the curtain in his mind. I am personally just grateful for the opportunity to capture the charismatic expressiveness of it all.

 Living in the here and now, being present for every moment we are given; these are lessons adults can learn from children. A butterfly floating along on a breeze is fascinating to baby. A dog licking their face can send a toddler into fits of laughter. The sound of a child’s giggle is contagious and evokes a smile from even the most cynical adults. It is essential that we capture these memories and hold onto them forever. The twinkle in a child’s eye is pure joy and exuberance that radiates from within, reminding us all of the simple beauty that surrounds us.

Photographing animals can be tricky. Imagine the situation from their point of view. A stranger comes in and suddenly wants to be their best friend. That in itself is reason enough to be wary. Then, the stranger produces a large unfamiliar object that makes noise while flashing a bright light in their eyes. The desire to run away can be overwhelming. I understand this fear and do everything in my power to make the setting one that encourages playtime while creating a bond of trust. When I am confident that the animal believes my intentions are pure, I start shooting and the magic begins. What made this moment special were the deep penetrating feline eyes. I felt as if I was looking into an old soul. She was not looking back at me; instead, she was looking right thru me.  

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