“What is my true passion photographically speaking? What is my style? What direction should I really focus on? And then there’s the Name Your Dream Assignment. What, if I could hand pick my jobs? What if I called the shots? What, if there were no boundaries at all, would I choose to do with my photography?”
I’ve certainly asked myself those questions before. In fact, sometimes I’ve struggled with the questions and the answers. My struggle is less about what my style is or what my true passion is (photographically), but more on what direction I should take with my photography. The reason I’ve had to ask myself that question is solely because of my geographic location. Truth be told, I’d love to focus more on photographing people with a lifestyle perspective. I’d also love to include pets in that focus. Because I live in such a remote rural area, I’ve had to focus far less on the people aspect and have made the decision to move forward with photographing pets, livestock, and nature. Why? To photograph people you must be near people. Since there are plenty of animals (dogs, cats, horses, and other livestock) up here, I’ve made the recent decision to pursue that aspect more than any other.
I’ve lived with animals all my life (and that’s over a half a century): cats, dogs, horses, chickens, and geese. Heck we even had pigs for while. I know a great deal about dogs and horses, in particular. I understand their instincts, their body language, and individual personalities. This bodes well if you wish to photograph them. I’ve always been what some people refer to as a “nature baby”. I love the outdoors, nature, wildlife, and the changing of seasons. That doesn’t mean I dislike the city — oh no! I adore the city but circumstances have played out to remove me from that one love (at least for now). Like the saying goes, I’m playing with the hand I’ve been dealt.
So that deals with Tracey’s question about boundaries. A few of my choices have certainly not been based on constraints or boundaries, however. I have never been a fan of posed studio shots — people or pets. I do love the natural essence of lifestyle photos where the subject is photographed in his/her natural surroundings. Whether it’s animals in their homes, parks, or backyards or if it’s people in their home, attending a celebration or other event, at work, or any other surrounding that identifies with them in a significant way.
More often than not I’m taking photographs for the sheer pleasure of capturing moments or subjects that draw me in emotionally and sometimes aesthetically. It could be a spider web wet with dew in the morning light, a neighbour’s horse grazing lazily, my dogs playing & cavorting, people at an event caught off guard, or a close look at a flower in my garden. There is a connection and a satisfaction in capturing those moments. The feeling is intensified when it can be shared or appreciated by others.
Last year, on one of my earlier photo shoots, I was so elated when the client expressed her sheer pleasure at how well I captured her dog. The first birthday party I was fortunate to do was a delight from the moment I arrived to the finished products selected by the client. Each day, when I take photos for myself ‘just because’ I feel the same pleasure and gratification. The degree of gratification does jump up a few levels, however, when taking photos for someone else. So if I ask myself Tracey’s leading question, “What is my true passion photographically speaking?” I come up with multiple answers. To condense my response to that single question, I’d have to say my photographic passion is the pleasure in taking a photograph (whether for me or for others) and the images express the true essence of the subject, whether that subject is human, animal, or totally inanimate. What better than to freeze for eternity an image that expresses something from within, however that manifests itself.
So what is your true passion in life (regardless of what area you choose)? If you write a post about your passion, please leave a link to it in the comments and I’ll pop by and read it after the weekend.