Saturday, June 21, 2008

Photographer's Style in Images

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."- Anais Nin

Over the last week I've been playing with light, varying the quality and quantity of it, to create different visions of the same object or scene. As a photographer, you live and breathe light - manipulating it to create the image you envision. Anais Nin's quote got me thinking about how different photographers rarely get the same shot - even when shooting with the same equipment.

Years ago I took a photography class at Disney Institute in Florida. We were all shooting film with Nikon's latest mid-range SLR at the time with a wide-to-telephoto zoom lens. Our instructor was a professional photographer who worked events on the various Disney properties. He was helping us improve our candids of children. He'd walk around and observe how we were framing shots and considering lighting. (What amazed me at the time was that he was able to tell me what was going to be a problem in a particular shot even before the film was developed!) I'd mastered capturing the action and emotion of children playing in the fountain and riding the carousel. What I hadn't been considering in my images was the framing of the composition. I'd initially missed reflections of the children on the ground (those shots taken after guidance were my favorites) and I'd completely overlooked panning a candid of a child on a stationary horse on the carousel to show motion. Other students worked on refining their crops (moving away from cutting the subject off at the joints) and moving in closer to the subject and/or shooting from their level.

Shooting fashion on the runway illustrates Anais Nin's idea - there are tons of photographers capturing the action. Each of us brings our own perspective and style and that's not something that's easily changed. Some of the photographers focus on shots of the models off the runway. Some prefer capturing the models as they're coming off the runway when they're more relaxed. I aim for capturing the audience's reaction to the designs/action and medium shots of the models. Check out the variety of images from the Alice in Wonderland Fashion Show in Stern Grove: