I created the following image at the Marie Zimmerman House located in Pike County PA at the top of the Delaware Water Gap in the Poconos. My goal was to create a seductive image that spoke thousand words to the viewers imagination. The staircase was beautiful and the natural light coming from a window at the top of the stairs was perfect. I immediately knew what I wanted. I asked Nicole to pretend to walk up the stairs, yet be looking down expectantly as she is framed by the window. Her posture, position and facial expression was exactly as I had envisioned. She is stunning. There was only one item that needed to be corrected to make the image perfect. I had her drop the shoulder strap off her right shoulder. I took one last look and raised my Leica M9 with a 35/2 Summicron to my eye and captured the image. Some may consider the image a bit dark, but I think it’s perfect
I have spent most of my time doing documentary photography while shooting images for local and national publications that use my images on the inside and on the cover of their magazines, newspapers and advertisements. Wedding photographers refer to this as a photojournalistic style, even though many of them have never been a photojournalist. In essence, we are trying to document a story as it unfolds before our very eyes whether it is sports, weddings, political rallies or other event. To get out of my box, I decided to take a Bodies in Landscape photography workshop at Peter’s Valley Craft Center in Layton, NJ. The class was taught by Laurie Klein, who is a wonderful person, photographer and instructor.
It was a very different class for me. My usual process is very technical. 1) Subject; 2) Focus; and 3) Simplify. Actually it’s not that simple, I usually go to a shoot knowing what I want or at least what a client wants and I just need to make it happen so when I enter a location I immediately figure out where the light is coming from and it’s intensity, decide where to place myself relative to my subject(s) for a clean background then decide if I need artificial lights.
I Laurie’s class, we had to decide the mood we want to create first followed by my process above. That was the most difficult part. I usually just capture the moments as they unfold. i.e. The mood is the mood at the moment. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, the romance surrounding a wedding. The mood is there for me, I just have to be at the right place at the right time and be one with my camera so the images are captured in my style. Yes, I can pre-visualize my images, but I struggle to plan the mood in advance.
As the class progressed, however, Laurie with the help of my fellow photographers in class, I was able to break me out of my normal process. Yes, it was uncomfortable and exhilarating at the same time. I highly recommend you take one of Laurie Klein’s workshops.