Back when I was at DINFOS (military photo school) the instructors drilled one thing (among many others) into our heads: "photography is subjective". I loved that, as an artist I loved being able to throw that word out there. Subjective was my license to shoot my way and claim "subjective" if my boss didn't like it. But I never really had that problem, people loved my work. I shot that way for a few years but when I got out of the Air Force, I did a brain dump got a non-photo job and fell into a rut. I forgot about my favorite word and started listening to people who were not photographers. They would tell me that I should do poses and props and look at what other photographers were doing. And what did I do? I accepted their bad advice. I started downing my style, trying to change it... Trying to fit in. And for what? It got me no where but disappointed in myself.
But good news, I woke up. It's taken me a while but after much headache, I've officially welcomed the real photographer in myself back.
When I hit the shutter release button on a camera I am looking through the lens and capturing what I see. I've always believed there to be something very sacred about capturing an image. I like to call it freezing a moment. In my mind, that's what I do. It's like magic and I'm very passionate about it. To sum it up, I'm your shoot it as I see it and most importantly feel it photographer and there's no reason for me or anyone else to ever feel pressured to deviate from that.
Here's a good example of what i'm talking about. A few years ago when we first learned that my grandmother had Alzheimer's, when things were only slightly crazy at family gatherings, I got my camera out and photographed the evening as it was unfolding. I hate the way flash looks so I kept it off, cranked the ISO as high as I could get it, set the camera to the widest aperture, lowest shutter speed and with the camera glued to my face I hung out with my family. The series of photos I'm about to post are in my opinion my best because of the emotion I was able to capture and the story I was able to tell with the images. Things got hectic, my grandma was anxious, kids were crying, my mom was in a cleaning frenzy, but I kept shooting. For me, that's what it's all about. That is who I am as a photographer and why I love being behind my camera.
Update: My grandmother has since passed away.
I'm so grateful that I have these images, these frozen moments.