Sunday, July 3, 2016

Keep Looking For Something New!

Some times you know that you have the "money shot", the one that tells the story you wanted to tell, is properly exposed, properly composed, as close to perfection as the situation would allow. Other times, you keep shooting, waiting for your own muse to appear and inspire you to continue shooting.

I was working with a staff writer who usually make her own photos. This would have made my presence redundant, were it not for the fact I had promised the City Librarian Ben Ocon that I'd be there.  

(If You Look In The Viewfinder and)...See Something You Have Seen Before, Don't Click The Shutter. This quintessential quote from  Alexey Brodovitch  reminds the photographer to constantly look for new approaches to telling a your story through your photographs.  From the appearance of this first shot, you might think that I ignored the Russian art director's advice. I made this shot for two reasons. First, it helps me to relax, knowing that I have one usable but trite image on my SD card. A shot like this could be used in a pinch, but I didn't intend to submit it. Secondly, I wanted to see the effect of a bounced flash shot when combined with a dark backlit ceiling.

Here this newly naturalized citizen stands with Jackie Speier (D. San Mateo). Since the article included a quote, a photo of her with the Congresswoman would work well. Again, I've seen this shot many times before, and probably taken a few myself. But I now had a second (technically) usable shot on the card. In theory, I could now go home.

I hung around instead, waiting for a photo with a more compelling back story. Shortly after the applause was over, friends and family milled about, taking photos and offering congratulations. Here, my subject is unwrapping her "citizen pin" so her daughter could wear it. After chimping this shot, I decided there was no story here. I also didn't like the dark background, so I doubled the exposure time and left the aperture alone. I'm using a paper plate bounced flash for these shots, so the constant aperture was a definite plus.

This second confirmation shot gave me the background detail I wanted, but the pin is too small to be seen. I could have changed lenses and moved closer for a tight portrait, but I liked how the background helped make the photo more festive.

These two shots were starting to lose focus, so I asked, "Can you show Mommy how proud you are of her?" Her daughter was happy to accommodate, and I got this very natural kiss on her cheek. As I always do, I told them that I was going to make a second shot, probably adding, "I just having so much fun!"

It wasn't until I chimped the images that I noticed the three people taking a selfie in the background. The people at camera left were also preparing to make a photograph. And in the middle, a proud little girl with her mommy. I consider myself extremely lucky to have caught the selfie action in the back, as their spontaneity just adds to the excitement of the photo.

I've never seen a photo quite like this one, Mr.Brodovitch, so I did make the exposure. Now, it's time to go home!