Images shot for, and property of, Save The Children.
Tomorrow we release Forget Mugshots, 10 Steps to Better Portraits. While I was writing it I spent a lot of time thinking about my favourite portraits. Many of those were shot for clients, and I’m limited in how I show them, so they can’t go into my books, which is too bad, but it’s just the way it goes. But while I was putting it all together, I came across these two and thought I’d share them with you.
Two of the ideas I share in the new book are these: that waiting for the moment, and recognizing it when it comes, is more important than other issues of so-called technical perfection, and that portraits are a relational process, not merely an artistic or technical one, and time spent with your subjects, making them comfortable, will be worth at least as much as time spent learning the buttons on your camera.
This girl was a trooper, wrangling these young camels like an old pro. She was 6 years old and her initial trepidation about the white guy with the big cameras were calmed when she realized I was more scared of her camels than she was of my cameras. We laughed, I made faces, and we did a whole lot of not-photographing for the first little while before I even raised a camera to my eye. And then we played some more. Patience, curiosity, and a willingness to value and love our subjects more than the photographs themselves will, in the end, result in stronger portraits. This patience and care allows subjects to calm, to drop their walls, and make way for moments like the second frame above – unrushed, unplanned, and unrepeatable.