While shooting an event last week I had a philosophical photography talk with Brother Joe. The topic was complicated but really came down to what do you want to shoot, if you had 1 shot left to take, what would you want it to be that would represent your photography? I’ve stayed awake at night thinking this through and I don’t think it’s a coincidence this came up at the same time I am re branding myself and my business.
Digital photography has changed photography, in my opinion for both good and bad. I will be negative and dive into the bad. I really feel that digital photography has led photographers to no longer really concentrate before taking a shot because digital allows us to fire off a bunch of shots and find a few that work. For me it takes the thinking out of photography. For me it went so far as to take out the thinking about what I was shooting. This led to a lot of meaningless photographs that are now stored on my computer that I don’t see any value in. There hasn’t been a whole lot that I’ve shot in the past 2 years that I’m really proud to attach my name to. Not that the photos are bad or anything, it’s just they don’t really serve a purpose in representing me.
I used to photograph a lot of models. Aside from coming up with a unique concept there wasn’t a whole lot to it. Pretty much anyone can take a decent photograph of a person who knows how to pose. During that time in my career I wanted to show beauty in my photography. I was lucky to shoot celebrities at events which just pushed me more towards that side of photography. But what I recently realized is that I was taking photographs of people who are considered “beautiful” but I didn’t see beauty in the shots, and the reason was the shots didn’t mean anything to me.
I found beauty in shooting photographs that really meant something to the person I was shooting for. I found beauty in shooting love. There doesn’t need to be a pre-conceived idea, there doesn’t need to be a professional pose or expression because love doesn’t need to be posed. Shooting photographs for someone to just add to a portfolio is now meaningless (to me). Shooting family portraits for military families who never had time to get photos means a lot. Dedicating time to shoot a wedding for people who can’t afford to pay normal rates and seeing them cherish their images is what I want to continue to shoot. Those are the photographs I want to start putting on my website and blog. Those are the shots I want to represent me. If I had one frame left, I would want to make sure I captured love, because isn’t that really where true beauty lies.
My goal in 2011 is to revamp my entire portfolio. I look forward to transferring a lot of my work onto an external hard drive and freeing up space on my computer so that the frames I shoot have meaning. One of my camera’s is nearing it’s end, in shutter years the camera is quite old. I let that camera down by not making sure each click of the shutter had been thought through. I won’t make that mistake with my next camera!
– Trevor Stolebarger