Tuesday, June 2, 2015
My close friend and occasional photographic assistant took this picture while we were lounging on the porch one day (she voluntarily transferred ownership of the image to me, as per our usual arrangement), during a playful moment when I was getting a little naughty. By her own admission, she doesn't have a strong talent or motivation to be a photographer, but I always enjoy seeing the results after one of those rare times when she gets inspired to capture a little bit of what she sees in me.
I wish I had more pictures like this one - genuine portraits, in contrast to the carefully posed shots I invariably take. Not that the latter aren't valuable - I've surely built my whole portfolio around them - but there's a piece missing, that you can see in shots like this one. If it's true that a portrait is a document of the relationship between the subject and the artist, then certainly this picture demonstrates one of the best facets of the relationship between me and the photographer. We are very open and comfortable with each other - and we're both huge perverts, which makes our lives fun and exciting, all of which I think is exemplified by the warm smile on my face.
There's something magical about the ability to capture a moment in time, or a person's demeanor or personality, in a photograph like this. I think I'm so amazed by it because it's something that eludes me, as an artist who is locked into the constraints of having to meticulously set up every shot I take, because it is of me, and I can't be photographer and model simultaneously. Even with the many mirrors I set up around my house to spark my creativity, chances are when I see a pose or a moment I want to capture, I have to grab my camera first, and then try to recreate it.
It's not that I'm a total narcissist - although I couldn't blame anyone for thinking that, judging from my photography - but I actually have considerable difficulty interacting socially with other people, so to get to a point where I could take casual pictures of them is exceedingly rare and difficult. Plus, you have to have the sort of person who's willing to expose themselves on camera - which requires a certain level of trust in the photographer, that he will strive to flatter the subject - but is also a skill that good models have, to be able to actually relax and get comfortable when somebody is taking pictures of you, and not freeze up and get nervous like most people do.
Still, it's something I hope I'll get a chance to try...someday.
(By request, here are some alternates from this shoot):