I guess everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame or some fortune. That would be nice. But that’s not why we are artists. We do it because we love it. We love the freedom of expression and the connection our art (no matter the form) makes with others. Its one soul touching another. Its interpreted differently by everyone. We don’t always know what the artist is trying to say but we feel some sort of bond if only briefly. Whether it is how the colors move you because of the emotions they elicit or just the serenity we feel when in the midst of nature and it’s beauty. It sparks thoughts, it completes the story in the viewers mind. It speaks to us, in words, sound, movement. That’s the beauty of art. It can be sublime or violent, social or political or just make us appreciate how someone else may view the world. There is no right or wrong, it just is. Plain and simple.
I have been commissioned to do portraits because the people saw something in the way I captured the essence of my subjects. I take the time to draw some underlying trace of who they are. Years ago, I photographed a friend’s 3 month old baby. Sweet mother and daughter moments, but her 8 year old hated the way she looked in pictures and it took her a while to relax in front of the camera. When Ciara saw the photos she said to her mother, I never thought I was beautiful before even though you always said I was. I captured her inner beauty, the essence of an innocent child who was wise beyond her years.
This was my favorite photo of her and she was thrilled to learn that her portrait was hung in a gallery exhibit.
I love working with children, once they get over their initial shyness and relax, they begin to show who they are. Some are deep thinkers, others always light hearted but each one wants to be seen for who they are and what they feel. Of course I do the sweet smile shots that all parents want but their children are so much more than that to an artist. They have layers already, some are apparent, others are hidden. We talk and I listen and sometimes words are barely spoken but I like to take the time for them to unfold before me, like a flower that opens its petals, exposing its inner beauty.
But I’ve also shot some heart wrenching images of women with breast cancer and this is always done as a labor of love, I cannot find it in my heart to charge any fee. Two such images had been selected in juried competitions. Carmen’s image was awarded first place in JPG and Mary and her husband Dave’s image “Lean on Me” was chosen by famed photographer, Peter Turnley for The DarkRoom Gallery’s “The True Story”.
Today I was asked by the gallery if they could use my image as an example for their upcoming juried competition “Love”. It will be on their website as a call to artist to exhibit. I am honored and humbled and feel so blessed that these women thought that I was compassionate enough to open up their hearts and deep feelings to me.
This is why I love what I do.