The benefit of travelling with another friend is you might get a few random photos of yourself. However, when you travel with a photographer who might care about having a few photographs of your ugly mug, you might just end up with more than a few gems. During the West Coast Trail adventure I was lucky enough to have my partner take a few portraits along the way; great photos, no selfies.
What makes a great portrait snapshot? I think that we all want to look thin, young and the way that we idealize ourselves in our imagination. Simple, right? Perhaps. The answer: be happy on the inside and practice with a few looks in the mirror that you like to see. Eventually, you will find a way to be photographed that meets your ideals and then you might be able to communicate with a photographer about how you want to appear without over-thinking it. For me, I am not big on smiling. The smile is a ridiculous convention that makes us appear our most unnatural. The laugh is a much more authentic look, but is tricky unless you are actually happy and it comes naturally. For my own part, I rather like this series of shots taken by my partner. There is natural emotion here, nothing is staged, and I feel like each shot shares a bit of who I really am.
Perhaps the first photograph makes me look twenty years older than I do and a little serious, but I love it. The parking lot image makes me look grumpy in a funny way, and I think my body appears in a flattering pose. In the kayak I was lucky enough to have a shot of me actually paddling in Victoria Harbour, and the composition shows off the surroundings and my funky “Richard Simmons”headband. The yoga snapshot shows me stretching my back out on the Gordon River, and it reflects that I might just have more in my head than rocks. Finally, the “in action” shot is just nice to see. I never had the chance to see myself doing things before; the best I might have is a random posed shot with friends and flash that made us all vampires with red eyes. Never underestimate the value of asking your loved one to take a few good photos of you; after two funerals for our fathers this summer I cannot express how important those few photos were to see on a poster or slideshow. Family want to remember you for who you actually were and not just a series of professional glam shots in weird poses. For heaven’s sake… print your favourites and keep them in an actual book. Hard drives die, people do not know they are even there. I want hard copies on the best papers in an album, which will be my Fall work project.
Speaking of work projects, aside from an upcoming catalogue shoot for Paderno Cookware and a possible session with banjo player extraordinaire, Darren Eedens, I have a major project ahead: moving into a new loft studio. I am so excited to be moving in with my girlfriend and moving on from where I have been for the past five years. Unfortunately, I will need to seriously cull my possessions for the second time in my life. Between guitars, books, boots, cameras, fine art and cookware I am a nightmare to move anywhere with. Anyone needing guitar pedals, synthesizers, cymbal stands and god knows what else may want to pay attention to my Facebook page. Simplify, simplify, simplify.