Unknown to the average person, and reasonably so, photographers do this thing where a bunch of us get together and take pictures. Sometimes there are models, sometimes there are people wanting to be models, and sometimes there’s just nature showing off. Such events achieve multiple goals. They give some photographers, especially those who are part-time hobbyist, a chance to shoot subjects that likely wouldn’t otherwise. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear instruction pass back and forth, not in a master/pupil sort of way but in more of a peer-to-peer relationship. As much as anything, though, it is a chance for those of us who have difficulty escaping the chains of our editing space to be moderately social with others who at least share an interest in this whole photography thing.
Such events fill a void and can be wonderful to attend. Other times, they can be a royal pain in the ass. There aren’t an overwhelming number of these events because they can be challenging to organize. There’s a matter of equipment, safety, insurance, and making sure there’s an opportunity for everyone who wants to shoot to do so. There’s also the question of whether they should be open or by invitation-only. Invitation-only events tend to produce better images because there’s no push-and-shove to find room to shoot. However, they ultimately closet those invited even more and leave out those who might benefit the most. Open events, however, can be overwhelming, chaotic, messy, and nearly impossible for heavily experienced photographers to capture anything worthwhile.
The latter situation prevents me from going to many of these events. I’m too old and too fussy to put up with the nonsense of too many people trying to shoot in too small a space and no matter how large a space is it can become too small when too many people attend. I’ve not attended one in a few years because the inevitable frustration doesn’t justify the results.
This past Monday, however, Kat decided that I needed to get out and be more social. Actually, I suspect she just wanted me out of the house for a few hours. So, my friend Keith picked me up and we went to the monthly open event held at Focus On Studio. Focus On is a moderately sized portrait studio with plenty of equipment and background options so it makes a good location for these events. Keith dislikes large crowds even more than I do so by going with him I know I’m not going to get any resistance when I say I’m ready to go. There was also a reasonably good chance other friends I’d not seen in a while would be in attendance. All in all, plenty of reasons to get out of the house on a Monday evening.
I packed my camera bag not expecting to actually use it. The event was going to be well attended and my purpose was more social than photographic. I presumed I would stand around, chat a bit, and be ready to go. For the most part, that’s exactly what happened.
Early on, however, I met Antesha, a young woman with a wonderful complexion, whose natural posture was impressive, and whose face was full of emotion. I had to pull my camera out and capture that emotion before things got too hectic. She was pleasantly agreeable so we stepped in front of the nearest white space and popped off a quick handful of shots. As expected, Antesha did wonderfully, demonstrating a delightful range of emotion.
When it comes to editorial photography, the ability to convey emotion is critical. This isn’t a fashion set where we depend on convoluted posing to create a make-believe story. We rely on the model’s face to support what any accompanying copy might attempt to communicate. Of the thousands of aspiring models I’ve shot over the years, one would be amazed at how difficult it is for some people to show emotion without their face becoming as convoluted as those fashion poses. Emotion sets a model apart, establishes a depth of range that not just anyone can achieve.
Antesha didn’t have much warning, didn’t know me from Adam’s ghost, and had but a few scant minutes to do her own makeup and check on her young son who was quietly playing games on a tablet in the foyer. I gave her simple instructions and off we went. The results you can see below.
I didn’t shoot anyone or anything else the rest of the night. In the short amount of time it took to shoot Antesha the studio filled, every spot taken (some even choosing to shoot outdoor by the light of a porchlight), and not especially conducive to the manner in which I prefer to work. That’s not a bad thing, though. I met some new people, had some over-due conversations, and left before Keith or I were pulling at our hair.
I cannot say when we might attend another event like this. One such adventure suffices for a while. I have too many other projects on my plate, photos still not edited, to give much time to social gatherings. Kat will just have to put up with me. I’m glad we went this time, though. I’m glad to have met Antesha and hope we can include her in upcoming projects.
As always, click on any of the thumbnails below to view the full gallery.