What if my camera could photograph the inside of my subjects?  What would I see?  What would the world see?  When my heart isn’t into my photography it shows substantially.  In turn my writing is a way for me to pour the essence of my heart and soul out.  We are a product of our environments and what we see and feel permeate all that we are.  With my photography, as well as my writing, I find that I do my best work when I feel connected to my subject and/or when I have inner peace as well as outer peace.  I’ve been mystified and captivated with photography for more than half of my life.  I believe it’s been the catalyst for so much.  I’ve seen people in ways I don’t think I could without my camera.  Writing has a similar affect on me.  It’s my way of capturing life, holding it deep inside, then breathing it all out (writing).  Some don’t like the images they see or what they read.  Others question why.  Simply put, it’s as asinine a question as “why do we breathe” and yet as perplexing and multi faceted a question as I’ve been asked.  Why do I share and open up?  Writing is “feeling” to me..outwardly…and photography is the same but it’s brining the images in and absorbing what I capture.  Often times after a good photo shoot or even after writing I feel overwhelmed, drained, and feel a deep sense of sensory drain.  Yet it feels so good, and yet again the question remains “why?”.

 

  So what would it look like if I could photograph your soul?  Or do I already?  When I have a subject I’m photographing, whether a person, thing, landscape, etc, I can often feel that I’ve captured something great the second I release the shutter.  Other times I surprise myself in post production by capturing something I didn’t see before.  It’s a never ending cycle of creation and one that I love so much.  I’ve been on “less than ideal” assignments where my heart was not there, I felt disconnected, and my work shows this time and again.  While it’s “good”, or maybe even “great” to others, to me I don’t have a connection to the work so it’s mediocre at best.  I’m my biggest critic and what I capture through my lens is essential for the person I am.  I love to photograph people and I find that work speaks the loudest to my soul.  More than anything, I love capturing the life in someone’s eyes, the sadness in their glare, and that curiosity in a child’s eyes.  The breadth of emotion we express as humans is astounding.  I don’t think it’s far off to believe we indeed do photograph one’s inside when we capture an image of their outside, and yet how different it would be if we only saw what’s inside!  What would that look like, or better yet how would it feel?  Essentially that is what makes a great photograph, and more so, a great photographer.  When you see in image and it makes you feel, it tends to leave a lasting impression deep within.  When you read something that touches you, it too finds a home within.  Still the thought of capturing one’s soul, their heart, their essence..this thought captivates me!  Essentially I see deeply with my camera and yet I wish I could see deeper and even still, my hope is to show what I do see.  How would we look if what was inside could be seen.  How would our character look, our soul, our heart?

 

  What is inside of us cannot be seen with the lens, with the naked eye, or with any modern technology.  Not in the sense of our character, who we are, etc.  Within that dark space lies the essence of our being.  Within that space, that darkness (literal), there can be so much light.  A friend I’ve known for most of my life, and who’s seen me through most of life’s major events recently told me “ Who we are in the darkness speaks volumes…it is there in the darkness that our inner light either shines or shows proof of its lack of existence".  I’ve photographed individuals bound by sadness and grief and after a spell in front of the lens, getting comfortable and relaxing into the moment, seen those images show unimaginable light.  It begs the question do; we all posses a beautiful light within?   I like to believe so and in moments like I just described I hope that I can show subjects something they don’t see.  There’s no better reward to a photographer shooting a portrait to see the elation in the face of a client who is self conscious or not very confident when they see the beauty you capture and when they truly love the image you capture.  It’s no irony that photography is the capturing of light.  To me it’s painting with light where the camera is my brush and my subject the canvas.  I hope that I can continue to find the light in others, within my photography, and through my lens.

~J.Meyer

Comment