I am not a very creative person. That statement by itself is already enough and I can end my work right here, in this black dot.
[sighs] No I can`t.
Last time I organized a photo shoot in my house my friends made me the favor to pose for me and while I took about a hundred different photos (no, I don`t like bursts because I know I`ll have to erase them one by one) only one was selected to be uploaded to 500px.
I spent a lot of time last week trying to figure out the answer. The photos looked great, the models were astonishing, and the equipment was perfectly set. What did the “Torn” picture had that the other did not?
According to Wikipedia, emotion “is a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states”.
During the photo shoot I asked my friend (and model) Ana Paula to look upset. We tried about five different expressions and then she got fed up with it. The moment she truly felt it was enough of that (it was about four in the morning), was the moment I got the photo right. She did me a tremendous favor posing and as she is not a professional model nor I`m a professional photographer, things got a little rough on the direction part of the shoot.
This “accident” unveiled a completely new part of photography for me: direction. As I`m pursuing new ways to deal with photography the kind of picture I want to take is changing. A few years ago, I looked at a picture from a technical standpoint alone. Now, that`s the last thing I look for. I want my pictures to express something and one can`t get a model to express a feeling they don`t feel or can`t understand. The way I got good pictures until now was utterly random: my wife posed and I shot. Eventually some picture would reflect the kind of thing I wanted, or not. And I would be frustrated for not understanding what went wrong.
While taking some time during the week trying to learn some techniques, I arranged a new shoot for the weekend. The idea was pretty simple: there was a theme, and based on that I would direct poses, clothing and makeup. What usually was my wife choosing her makeup and outfit was about to become a broader (and potentially disastrous) experiment.
When they got to my house, I was scared to let them down. One does not simply asks two women to wear full make up and fails them. While I usually don`t drink, I thought about the possibility of easing off a bit and took some doses with them. Suddenly I was on the floor, seated, talking to my friend about the impact the hand and fingers lying on the face would have on the final expression. Would it represent desperation, sadness or guilt? Camera in one hand, glass on the other, we debated about the truthfulness of the expression and the unconscious need for shelter that makes people seat on corners when feeling bad. That`s what I wanted. No matter if the pictures were going to be great. They would, surely, be the representation of what we were trying to do that night. While shooting I remember thinking, “oh, the photos are great! Or, maybe, they suck and I`m drunk”. The expressions on their faces looked real. When we started talking about the kind of emotion I was trying to get, it took only some time until I could get it to look like they were really feeling it. The Desperation, The Guilt and The Lust are the result of an honest work of emotions crafted for that moment and, therefore, real in their essence. Let us have truth in wine, and let us have water the day after.