I’ve been holding my tongue for long enough. I’m one very, very small cog in an ever growing machine of photographers around the world. That machine is so big people debate the definition of what a ‘professional photographer’ really is. Does a professional photographer shoot sharp, crisp images in exchange for money? Do they have part time jobs? Are you a professional photographer if you charge too little for your services? I’ll admit to getting caught up in the conversations and ultimately wasting time that could well have been spent doing something constructive like, oh say, honing my skills. The truth of the matter is I hate everything I shoot and nothing is ever good enough. I spend countless hours wondering, hoping, worrying that clients like what we produce for them. I spend countless more comparing my work to that of other photographers, wondering if I’ll ever be ‘that good’.
It’s no secret I’ve always tried to be a crow left of the murder when it comes to wedding and portrait photography. Studio shooting is just not for me. It’s not where my mind wanders when I think about shooting for clients. The machine produces hundreds of thousands, if not millions of images every single day that fall into some category that’s already been carved out. We all shoot with the same cool new gear and light modifiers. We craft our blogs in the same format…intro, images, Like buttons and wonderful comments. ‘Beiber photography’ is what I like to call it. It’s as popular as hell and the entire world loves it. But it’s not for absolutely everyone. I’m not a Beiber fan but that doesn’t mean I think people that do like are idiots. It’s a big world and it takes all kinds. Instead, I’m drawn to musicians that often have something to say, musicians who do whatever the hell they want as long as they’re staying true to what they believe in. Neil Young’s Keep on Rockin in the Free World, Tom Petty’s Last DJ and Pearl Jam’s Animal don’t leave you wondering where these guys stand on certain issues. I like that. I respect that. I want to learn to be able to reflect that in my photography. Not necessarily grand statements on the state of the economy or the music industry but just different ways of looking at the family unit as an example. Different ways of looking at how wives and moms play a role in a family and in a relationship.
I’m surrounded by women. My wife, my daughters, my mom, my mother in law and my assistant are six women I interact with on a daily basis. They’re the glue that keeps me together in all aspects of my life and I have no problem admitting that. If it wasn’t for them I’d probably still be living in an old grocery store on Wellington St, eating one meal a day and sucking from a bong. They inspire me. My female photographer friends are the only ones who ever really tell me the honest truth about my work and they’ve verbally bitch slapped me once or twice to ‘get back to doing what you do best’. They inspire me.
It’s probably no surprise that I’m a huge Helmut Newton and Quentin Tarantino fan. Outrageous, morally questionable, gratuitous and completely over the top. Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, Jackie Brown, Death Proof and True Romance. This is where I draw my inspiration. Not from some other photographers blog. As much as I love ‘love’ and the union of two souls and being a wedding photographer…I also like to take a step back and have some fun and create images of people and families that are fun, sometimes morally questionable, gratuitous and completely over the top. There’s enough Bieber photography out there already without me adding to it. I’m not even that good at it.
Enter our newest endeavour, The Family Fiction Series. A celebration of families and the women who run them. Inspired by everything from Pulp Fiction to Pearl Jam.
One day a few months back, Marcia came home and I was sitting on the couch watching Sportcentre, Lola was hanging upside down in the chair, watching the iPad and chewing gum and Ruby was standing at the coffee table eating dill pickle crispers that had fallen on the floor. Probably not my finest hour as a Dad and Marcia struck down upon us with great vengeance and furious anger. And so it was born. the Family Fiction Series. I have no idea where this will lead. We have a few ideas and a few sessions with some incredible clients. We’ll probably never make the cover of Popular Photography or the Style Me Pretty Blog but this is how I make a living and I could not be happier.
The Family Fiction Series is a complete collaborative effort. You can’t just show up and sit in front of our lights and backdrops. We need you. We want to know about you and all the over the top moments that happen in your family when no one is looking. If you’d like to be a part of this project send us your story by email.