One of the most talented American photographers of all time once said, “There are always two people in every photograph, the photographer and the viewer.” As a photographer myself I have had the opportunity to cover a little bit of everything from portraits, weddings, and most recently, travel photography. All of the demands and expectations of wedding photography, the patience of portraits and the technicality of travel, fall short of the most exhausting form of photography — fashion photography.
As a fashion photographer I’ve had the opportunity to cover many Fashion Weeks, work with professional/aspiring models, and participate in the creation of photo projects; and while this form of art has its own set of technical rigor, the pressure doesn’t come from the image-creation, nor from the talent, but from the viewer. The subject of fashion photography is normally linked with lowly passions, enticements, and blurred lines. Things do not get any easier once you take into consideration that while photography is my trade, Theology is my major, Global Leadership my Masters of education, and I’m a husband and father of five girls!
Not to say that I have it all figured out, but the events from this past week serve as a game-changer in my mind. Turns out, this past November I had the opportunity to photograph a beautiful and talented aspiring model in my home studio here in Italy. Long story short, this past Monday I learned this model has abruptly passed away. This event spurred a wealth of emotions ranging from denial, awkwardness, and all the way to anger. Clarity was a sparse commodity in my mind. In the midst of all this emotional turmoil something unexpected happened during her memorial. Towards the end when the guests share condolences, the now-widowed husband reached out to my wife and expressed how wonderful a time and how meaningful and special she felt throughout the entire shooting session. Let me rephrase this, fashion photography, done with professionalism, respect, and class was one of the last happy moments she enjoyed.
As I said before, I cannot advocate for every single photo session out there, the intentions of all parties involved, or the biases we as consumers apply to all images. All I can say is that for this circumstance, for this family, and for this woman, the image-creation was uplifting, dignifying and a testament to art, collaboration, and life. I do not deny that every photograph involves the photographer and the viewer, but in addition we should also take into consideration the presence of value. Ultimately, we all promote or degrade certain values through our actions, whether we take pictures or not. Every job, every creation involves imparting our values, and in the end I believe we all can use our skills to promote empowerment, wholesomeness and purpose.
To see a full Gallery with Jessica’s pictures click here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.569184283173568.1073741852.266132613478738&type=1