Being a photographer isn't about the art to me. It isn't about the fancy backdrops or wild props. It isn't about creating a new version of reality. To me, it's all about the relationship. The relationship of me, as the photographer, honoring the person who is on the other side of the lens.
In creating a relationship -- whether it's for 30 minutes or 3 hours -- we create an experience bounded by the intimacy of taking images. It's about honoring who the subject is, balanced with my perspective and sense of beauty and composition.
I've noticed a trend towards very busy and creative "sets" for photography. While I love to look at those images, and marvel at the amount of time, energy and money that goes into them, I lean towards a more simplistic set up. Using neutral tones to find beauty. It's in the eyes, the fingers, the toes, the lips -- those are the bits of babies I love. And the eyes and curve of the mouth for children and adults -- expressions of love, humor and humanity.
I was reminded of this yesterday when I was photographing a 2 year old child and her parents. She was all about the word "no" precisely as many two year olds are. No - to being held. No - to sitting on mom's lap. No - to being held by dad. No - to sitting or standing or whatever was being asked of her. Oh, she was a curious one, climbing on a tree branch, peeking down at the stream through the bridge slats, and then taking my hand.
She took my hand to lead me down a path, leaving her parents to sit "posing." It was sweet in the moment. And sweet in the memory. She knew exactly what mattered....having someone who was interested in her and would explore together. Isn't that what it's all about?