The capture above did not start out with me looking to create an image full of apprehension. I had to photograph Tanner and I looked around to find an ideal spot. My goal was to show off his physique using harsh lighting, show off his strong jaw line and darken the background. Subject, simplify and focus. That is my normal process. I had him sit on the chair in a formal fashion because I did not want something cheesy, I clamped a speedlight to a post in front of him, pointed the flash directly at his face and told him to close his eyes so I do not blind him with my light. The outcome is a man bathed in bright light and framed by his own reflection while he sits on a chair next to an opening to the woods. I’m sure there is a story here about why he is so apprehensive and fearful of the unknown beyond the porch and in the woods.
As mentioned in a previous post, I was at a workshop taught by Laurie Klein at Peter’s Valley. The class was called “Bodies in Landscape.” However, the class should’ve been a therapy class. In the past, this workshop was for women only and was closed to the male species. The women who attended this class always enjoyed it and many of them go year after year. It was finally opened to men for the first time and it started out a bit strange for us as the women all knew each other. I do not say that in a bad way. It was just that the ladies all knew each other and the men did not.
I used the image above because it reflects how I felt in class. This was a first for me where we had to start with a feeling then create the image. Laurie mentioned she wanted to take us out of our comfort zone. I did not think she could as I am willing to shoot just about anything, at any time and any where. I am very comfortable with all my equipment and how to use them. However, I was not ready to embrace my feelings or anyone else’s for that matter. I generally create photographs based on a client’s needs or as the event unfolds. I am not a very emotional person either so I found it uncomfortable when the ladies started to shed tears of joy and hug each other.
There was one moment where I was especially uncomfortable because I almost stuck a foot in my mouth as these situations are not my specialty. It was on the last day of class when we were discussing what our take aways were from class. One woman talked about how supportive and helpful everyone was during class. Then she started crying and had to pause from her comments. She kept trying to start-u gain but just kept on breaking down into tears of joy. The first couple of times, everyone laughed. Not in a mean way but more of a we understand kind of laugh.
There was a moment where there was a mood change I almost missed. I was about to laugh again. I’m not even sure how I caught it, but the silence was deafening. The laughter from the class turned into tears as well. All of a sudden the ladies got up for a group hug, while the guys sat there wondering what was going on and how to react. Was the group hug ladies only? Were we expected to join the group hug or do a guys version? Were we expected to cry as well? If we did not cry, will they think less of us? If we did cry, would we lose our machismo? Where was the instruction manual for situations like this?