I’ve had a revelation.
I see photography on Pinterest (oh my loving holy stars, THE PINTEREST) that, like all good photography, makes me scrinch up my nose and lean in and wonder how, what lens, what time of day, what exposure, what skill, what luck. Lately, though, it’s been occurring to me that exposure, gear, skill, and luck are only half of it. Well. Alright. Three-quarters of it. But still.
Well of course it’s pin-worthy. They have hot air balloons, a matching dress, and a bow-tie. The perfect swoop of a proper umbrella, the long white-blonde hair, the tight black trench. They’re wearing matching hunter boots, bloomers, and vintage Chanel. The harmonious tones of twin cupcakes as well as twin dresses. A dress like that.
It’s true. A photograph can be made thanks to a visionary pause — an eye for crafting an image. A flash of specialness, character, something out-of-the-ordinary. Or even just an elegant sort of plainness, the sort of well-crafted neutrality that keeps all the viewer’s attention on soul and light (as opposed to a Spongebob Squarepants t-shirt that says GIT YER NERD ON).
Sometimes it’s more than a visionary pause that makes a photograph. Sometimes, it’s a visionary blueprint. There are people out there who seek out props, hats, flair. They watch for it and they know how and where to apply it. They see a kid with the most fantastic curls ever and instantly they think LOOSE COTTON SEERSUCKER + C. 1930s FISHING KREEL + BEACH = PERFECTION. And they do it. Like those obsessive-compulsive math people who can’t stop counting stairs, some people are obsessive-compulsive about the mechanics of scene-setting. They see inspiration everywhere.
I love seeing that care, but now, let’s talk about you and me and the everyday. How do we take a page from the stylist-photographer’s book? What’s all this mean for spontaneity? Do you craft your images, even on-the-fly? Knowing your camera’s accompanying you for a day, do you dress or prop you or your subjects with a photographic eye? Could you?