Friday, January 31, 2014
Frame Of Reference
As someone who is always has his eye out for a great image, I often find myself delving into the portfolios of others. When I began FH, I remember being struck by occasionally seeing similar images of the same model within the portfolios of different photographers. It was not just that it was the same model, but the same location and background, similar props and themes. At first I naively wondered if the photographer had different names associated with their work. This is fairly common I have learned. One professional name for more mainstream, portrait, children or wedding shots, and another for their work with figure and form... the nudes. This ended it up however, not being the answer to the mystery. I was intrigued to learn that some artists shoot together. They choose to pool resources, share studio space and the financial investment in equipment, travel and model fee’s.
I think one of the first time I remember seeing images from a group shout were images from the BMSO shoots sponsored by Prairie Visions Photography. I have since enjoyed the collaborative shoots from many of my favorite photographers including Mark Leighton & Mark Montovio, Dennis Nauert & RJ Velazquez. I became fascinated with the differences in view when two or more artists shot together. It wasn’t so much they were seeing things differently, it was more that what they were seeing was being filtered visually through their past, their skill, and individual lens of experience.
Ten different people may look at a model and all see the same 6ft, dark haired, well built man or woman. Each of those ten individuals though also bring their own story to the process, both positive and sometimes intensely painful. This mean the lens in which the visual is filtered must expand in ten different directions to meet the expectations of the person behind the camera.
It can also an incredible learning opportunity, watching and experiencing another artist work. When a friend of mine was entering the world of photography a few years back, I remember before he posted his first image he spent months connecting and watching the work of those he respected in the field. I have loved to share, and write about different, yet connected visual experiences. I have done it in the past on FH, most notably with Bill McClaren with Michael Puff and with Mark Grantham and Mike Tossy. In most posts, you get two, sometimes three perspectives; the artist, the model, and my own. When the focus includes two or more artists, I usually speak less about what I am feeling, and instead showcase each piece and let those enjoying the images experience the similarities and differences.
What has always intrigued me though, is that I have always have a preference, one set that I am more drawn to than the other. What is even more interesting is that in almost every case, including these incredible images of Aaron, is that after I begin the piece, through the time I press ‘post’, my preference always changes. Here, are two visions of Aaron, from the perspectives of photographers Gordon Nebeker and Tom Clark.