Thursday, October 14, 2010

On empathy & photography

I've seen a lot of different people in front of my lens. Lately, due to the type of work I'm doing, they're not experienced, therefore not confident.
I can guess that for other photographers, it's a source of bother but I'm really enjoying this. It requires a lot of empathy and it seems to come as a second nature to me when I'm behind the camera. I love how you need to guide them, show them, bring them over to the fun side of it. Oh, I know it's not easy. I wouldn't want to stand on that side of the lens either. Maybe what I say to my models is what I would tell myself if I was in their place. Or what I wish the photographer would say to make me feel better.

When I see them get into it, it's a glorious feeling of achievement, and I know that the picture will be worth it because the model is enjoying being there and feels at ease.

I've heard horrible stories from models, about having hours long shoots and having to do all kinds of ridiculous things for a result of... one good photograph. Come on. When you see the sparkle go out of your model's eyes, you know you should have quit already.

So this is it. Read your models, feel what they feel and put yourself in their shoes. I believe it works better than the Hollywood stereotype of the "impatient fashion photographer who shouts at everybody on the set". Of course, if it's an expensive experienced model who can't do her job and wastes everybody's time: I might be like that too.

Whatever works for you of course, for me, I think empathy is a must.

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