I initially met Bridget through her artwork. She creates intricate line work embellished artwork, and portraits of women, often with a lot of color. She is very much an embodiment of her work, a colorful human representation of the goddesses she paints and draws. In addition to her art, Bridget is also dedicated to healing, as a certified Hypnotherapist. Bridget has become a really good friend over the years, and someone with whom I feel grounded. It’s the natural healer in her, and the vibrant aura that she carries with her everywhere.
Bridget and I were talking about this concept of self-love, and how it's so easy to fall into the trap of beating ourselves up. I had wanted to work on an art project and she was willing to play muse for the day (lucky me), and trust me to photograph her. In such a privileged situation, when I photograph people that I know well, I become hyper aware of this relationship between photographer and subject. As an artist, making art is essentially wearing everything inside on the outside, in every action, I take, a little part of me is revealed. That process is very precious, and many artists don’t allow people to enter in this private space.
Early in my studies, a photo teacher told me that it was "bad karma" as a photographer to say no to getting your portraits done. Whether or not you're superstitious or believe in karma, the bigger lesson I learned from this was to know how uncomfortable it is to be on the other side of the camera. I started to really pay attention to how I feel, and what I am thinking, because as a photographer, I want to make my clients, and subjects feel as comfortable as possible, and to trust me, so we can move to a more collaborative place.
As a portrait photographer, I am preserving memories, but I more importantly, I am producing tangible evidence of a person's existence. Bridget naturally exudes her inner beauty, and reveals herself and even she had reservations about being photographed but not everyone has the confidence to wear their most charming qualities on their sleeve, and the truth is even most people aren't able to see their own beauty.
My goal as a portrait photographer is to provide this for people. I want to give people a chance to see themselves as their loved ones see them; a chance to see themselves in their best light.
A dear friend of Bridget and mine, who we lost last fall, used me and my skills in her process to try to overcome her fears, and reservations about being photographed; to try healing scars from her youth. It was really one of the first times that I really understood what I should be giving people with my portrait photography, and when I started to understand the implications of my job.
It's an honor, to be trusted to photograph people; as Henri Cartier-Bresson says, "...to get between people's shirt and their skin". This is work in progress, always discovering, and re-discovering how to connect with that special place in new people, and a task that I take on with great reverence.
Thanks for trusting me Bridget ;)