For the most part, I don’t shoot people. I’ve given my difficulties in that direction a great deal of thought and I think that this thing bubbling out of me about how men depict women in photos has something to do with my own inadequacies in that area. Let’s see if I can tease that thought out and make everything connect…
1. Women have skin…and I like that. In usual geek style, what began as a useful tool to perhaps clear up an imperfection in an image has been taken to a lunatic extreme. It’s no longer enough to simply eliminate the blemish she woke up with on the day of her big shoot, now we have to remove all evidence of texture in a woman’s skin. This is a horrible, horrible idea!
Really, the practice makes me wonder if the photographer has ever actually touched a woman. Could it be he’s not aware of the tactile aspects of the female form? Do these guys get excited walking past the rows of poseable plasticine women in a department store?
2. Women are real people with real lives (news to some I think). I’ve hiked more miles than I can count, through deserts, over mountains, and through dense forests…and not even ONCE have I found a naked woman hanging out among the ferns. Really, not once. I’m sure I would have noticed. Not once have I seen a nature loving, large breasted, red-headed vixen luxuriating on a pile of jagged rocks. Hell, I’ve been looking for that one for years! She’s not out there!
3. You could make a fortune opening a Chiropractic practice next to a busy glamour photo studio. Because those poor girls are spending hours there posed in the most unnatural positions imaginable. If you ever came across a woman in one of those positions outside of a studio, you’d probably be calling an ambulance for her after assuming she’d just suffered a terrible and disfiguring fall.
Now, I’m not going to pretend I haven’t enjoyed viewing some pics that would qualify under my own negative criteria. In the end, I’m a man…which means, of course, I’m a pig. But just because you can get me to stop and look at a sexy woman doesn’t mean you’ve done the subject any justice.
All this begs the question, “What would I like to see?” I think every person is at their best when doing something they love most or perhaps are the most passionate about. Shoot an athlete being athletic. Shoot a mother with her children. Shoot a geek with her computer or camera. Shoot anyone in moments of satisfaction, rest, thought or conversation with friends. Talk to the people who love them and shoot them the way THEY see them.
So this is why I don’t do people shots well. I could tell the subject to move around to every position imaginable and I’d never be happy with it or comfortable with the process. What I want to do is follow them around for a few days or weeks, with camera in hand, and wait for those moments when they are most themselves, in love with what they are doing or who they are with. If I could be around for that, I could burn a lot of film.