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Last week was very stressful at my day job. A lot of problems were being thrown at me, and I was working 12 hours a day, traveling from Seattle to Bainbridge Island to Port Orchard every day of the week trying to simultaneously problem solve momentary solutions and long term solutions, all while trying to do the normal aspects of my job from the ferry and late at night. Suffice to say, I was tired and creatively taxed through the course of the week.
One of the things I really love about art is how it helps me to replenish my soul. I used to think that creativity was a gift; something you were either born with or not. I now know that’s not true. Creativity is a set of muscles that can be built since creativity is actually just the process of connecting dots.
Creativity in business is a similar but different set of skills than creativity in photography, which is in itself different than writing, painting, woodworking, or interior design. But, it’s a similar muscle set. And as with any muscle group, if you do the same exercise – let’s say bicep curls – for too long, your biceps become tired and you must let them rest. And unless you don’t want to look silly with huge biceps and nothing else, you can let the biceps rest while you work out the triceps or shoulders or forearms. As it is with creativity.
So, after a week that truly taxed my business creativity, I needed to rest that and engage something else, which is where Patrick comes in. We’d been talking on a social app for a while and I’d invited him to shoot previously. He was intrigued by the concept, and after talking through the process he was ready to try it out. It was his first time being photographed professionally, so it would be an adventure for him.
As usual, we started with conversation after he arrived. I think I just had a lot on my mind because I found myself talking more than I normally do. I was also oddly nervous, but I think that was more to do with being fearful of a creative block than anything. But, I did talk a lot. I usually have an hour of conversation with my subjects before I begin shooting, but I think Patrick and I talked for almost 2 hours. He’s an amazing listener, but also had a lot to add to the conversation. We definitely had some similarities in both having suffered from Bell’s Palsy, both being adventurous spirits, both having artistic passions, and the like. I enjoyed the connections we share a lot.
Moving into the shoot, he was nervous, but had no expectations. We started in some velvet underwear and then moved on (or off?) from there. Stylistically speaking, I again shot both digital and film. I stayed mostly with my 50mm lenses, but I did take out the 35mm lens for my Leica M10 for a few frames. I had a load of Kodak Tri-X in the Leica M3 film camera, and we just started going around the space and exploring the light together.
I’m still enamored by having the harder light of spring coming in through miniblinds. I love the contrast, especially in black and white. Digitally, I converted most of my images to black and white. I just find that to be my voice most of the time, when photographing people. Its so timeless, and I find that it tells a different story than color images. The narrative is more direct to my intent when taking the image, versus the visual noise that I feel color adds. That isn’t to say that I dislike color images, but they find their place in my nude work less and less.
Patrick is a lovely and beautiful human and I really enjoyed my time with him. I was at a moment of self-examination as we finished, and he said “how are you feeling?” I realized and told him, I was feeling calm and fulfilled and creatively satisfied, for which I genuinely thanked him. I hope that comes through for you as you look at these.
As always, I hope y’all love the images!