Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Natural Light

I have a photographic mind. I am constantly seeing still frames everyday. From the bum foraging in the garbage to traffic jams with cars and their Obama bumper stickers. I see the world in natural light. Anytime I have an idea or I see a photograph in my mind, it is almost always with natural light. I heard the word; "lazy" correlated with people shooting in natural light the other day. To be honest it was at first funny, then offensive, then ludacrious. I'm quite sure it is a preference and laziness has nothing to do with it. Every photographer I have shot with all agree that natural light is intimidating because it cannot be controlled. Of course if you cant control something, the obvious irrational response would be to justify your reasoning... especially with something as mundane as this. However, in the way I shoot, if the light isnt correct I wont shoot it. Why try to force something I cant control? I like to shoot people in their natural environment and i'm almost positive that doesnt include putting them on a seamless with a strobe. I couldnt imagine trying to shoot my son in studio light. It would seem pointless, staged, and well... unnatural.

My two sisters, nieces, and nephew went on a roadtrip to see my dad in rural Indiana (where he is currently on vacation until his work sends him to another location) yesterday. It was a wonderful day. Very 'picture-esque' in only as real as an evironment as it can get. From my nephew hitting a ball and the dog who is chained to a tree by a leash chasing after it, to my sisters and dad talking about memories from the south at a table in the overgrown grass with an empty plastic blue pool in the background, and even my niece and nephew sitting on my dad's Harley. Very Sally Mann. Shooting 2 rolls of this was just what I needed. seeing things through a viewfinder and looking up as my family just shakes their head. "Sarah you've been doing this since you were 10, we're used to it." I cant wait to see this stuff. I handed my dad the print (which a dear friend of mine made for me) of one of the proudest moments, as a daughter and a photographer i've ever been a part of. He almost teared up as he said; "thank you sarah, this is the best photograph that has ever been taken of me. It shows my scars, my wrinkles, my life. I'm tougher than a $2 steak but I was proud here." Yesterday, was a great day.

New York was great, as usual. I'm going camping next week in Northern Michigan. I'm giving myself a week off after traveling so much lately. Fall is trying to usher in, and i'm taking full advantage. Boston, er, "Bawstin" is after.

Wicked Awesome.

Here's dad:


  1. Wow! It floors me to know there are photographers who are snobs about natural light. Rather, it floors me that if they're going to be snobby, it's in the direction AWAY from natural light. It's actually a perfect analog to a debate I was having just today with some linguists about the use of 'natural (conversational) speech' as the basis of linguistic analysis as opposed to examples constructed from an armchair. It's just so hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea that real, organic occurences are of any less value than artificial ones; to me they're the ideal.

    And the laziness argument...maybe people who shoot with artificial light are too lazy to wait for and identify the perfect naturally lit shot... :) I mean, isn't that the magic of photography right there? Identifying that one perfect moment and capturing it before it changes?

  2. I 100% agree with you. I dont know that this applies to everyone, but it would seem that it is probably a fairly common studio photographer mindset because they spend so much time obsesssing over lights than people who don't have to, must be lazy.

    Yes that is exactly the magic of photography. Capturing the moment. At least that's my feelings. But what do I know? ; )

  3. This is not only one of my favorite photos of yours, but also one of my favorites of all time.


    I feel like I "know" who your father is, without a chance in hell of that, but you've allowed me "in" -

    And that's what this is all about.

    DO MORE.


  4. A seamless is absolutely no place for your son. Keep doing what you do!


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