I was reading though a few of the Craigslist photography ads this afternoon. I do it every once in a while and actually post an ad from time to time. When I post these ads, I sort of do it in a smart-ass manner. I try to make a nice looking ad and simply tell people I’m here. If they want more info, they can contact me. My phone number is usually also on the ad.
Most of what I see there could be better. Often, when there are images attached as examples, they seem to be semi or non professional looking images. Colors are off, composition is off. Once in a while people don’t even rotate an image and simply place it on there sideways. I’m old… turning my neck to look at that image pains me.
Today I found an ad where a photographer was advertising for Boudoir Photography. I recently heard a news item that suggested that more new brides and new couples are having boudoir sessions. Well, they are not pouring in here so I guess that must be somewhere else. So… this photographer writes: “I am an experienced professional photographer newly introduced to the world of Boudoir Photography.” Then, he went on to pull one of the most (for me) irritating lines I’ve read from time to time – or some version of this: “I take pride in capturing a persons beauty from the inside, and out.”
The only thing beautiful on the inside would be anatomy images taken for science. Other than that, inside is just a mess and I know… I used to be a butcher. I also realize that this line is supposed to indicate that this photographer has some super secret special skill that can take anyone and show them in a beautiful manner. Or, they have some special insight to capturing a soul or a personality.
First, I’m the only one who can do that stuff. Second, being serious… not everyone looks good in every picture situation. It can be a combination of things… height, weight, skin texture, teeth, bad hair, bad outfit choice, bad pose, bad setting or a bad photographer. Not everyone is happy with their body. There may be times when I have to figure out a way to present a person while actually concealing what the person really looks like. That does not mean a total photoshop job – it means that the long haired girl who parts her hair in the center and has a rather large nose needs to be shot at some other angle to NOT draw direct attention to that situation. I’ve shot women who are too large for the too tight club dress or are simply stiff when posing. All challenging and all mechanics along with trying to work with an individual. There’s no inner beauty shit going on. It is not some magical power. What it is – is experience with a camera, lighting, body types, props, post production and a whole lot of other things to make that person “look hot.” Lots of people “look hot” all by themselves and some others need help. So, most of the time you are really going to “capture” a person’s beauty from the “outside.”
The other interesting part of that ad was his example image. The image was a female reclining backwards on a table or desk or night stand. I searched the image and discovered that it belongs to a photographer named Elizabeth Messina. Very high end art. I contacted the photographer for examples and prices. Prices were not set but he did link me to a website with his work. His work is actually not too bad at all except that he has absolutely no boudoir photography. I guess when he said “newly introduced” he must have meant 2:15 this afternoon or so.
In the end, a picture of something is what it is. You usually don’t see what went into it at all. Working with people, you don’t see wardrobe choices, makeup and hair prep, scheduling to do the shoot, circumstances that may have come up that day, props, sets, lights, postwork or any of that. You just see a final image and from there you can use your own imagination to determine what the image means to you. Perhaps you see inner beauty. It is in your mind and that’s not a problem but understand that this is your perception of the image.
The image above was shot here in the studio. Elena is in lingerie but completely covered. If you look closely, she is wearing a white panty over a black panty in order to match her black and white bra. She is on a posing table with a bedspread. The headboard in back is made out of PVC tubing painted metallic silver and enhanced with a lace cloth. The wall in the back is a piece of paneling that I smeared drywall plaster on to make a textured wall. It is supported by a couple of hooks and some cord… just really hanging back there. The picture on the wall and the shadow from that picture was not there at all, that was added in post along with some faux flare on the right. These are things people do not need to know about. We created an image and you can take it from there.
Just about any picture of anything has a lot of invisible things going on until you start to think about it a little. In this recent trip to Montana, I took a lot of landscape shots in Glacier National Park.
Here is one of those images. You could look at it and say to yourself “Wow, a waterfall in the mountains! How peaceful and what great solitude.” You could say that. You could also look harder and realize that the only reason you even see this image is because a shit load of people – many of them long dead – made it possible. Blackfoot Indians, Presidents, rich people, train barons, park employees, road construction people, legislators, lobbyists, outdoors enthusiasts, cooks, prospectors, prostitutes, religious dudes, scientists, engineers… and on and on. Whether the effort was entirely collaborative or not, it took a bunch of people many years to make this image a possibility. No inner beauty, more like hidden circumstances.
I’ll get back to the Montana trip soon.