Monday, April 27, 2009


The Ex emailed me the other day to congratulate me on the upcoming move to Glasgow. He mentioned that he's started his own photography website as a side business and asked me to have a look. I know you have a good photographic eye and I'd like your opinion was what he said.

I took a look at the site. And then I was torn.

Was I supposed to give my opinion as a friend (wait, are we friends now? When did that happen?) or as a fellow photography enthusiast?

I chose the latter, and here's what I said:

You have a great eye for photography - that goes without saying. You are able to capture lighting and shadows to the best of your advantage and in the process capture a moment on film. Not many people have the skill to do that.

If you're motive is to photograph young ladies who all look like they're about to audition for the next issue of Sex Kitten, then fine. You're accomplishing your goal - and I'm sure they are as well.
Don't read on.

If however you are serious about photography and human subjects - you have a lot of work to do. There's nothing that distinguishes you (or your subjects for that matter) from the hoards of other "fashion" photographers out there.

Teach your subjects to showcase their talents and photogenic skills not with their wardrobe and bodies only - but with their face, their eyes, their expressions and overall body language. As a model, they should be capable of a range of emotions. Sex is a type of emotion, but there are a hundred others, and only one of the models managed to come up with a difference shot that set her apart from all the rest - and even she maxed out at 3 expressions.

Try working with an experienced shoot artist or art director to instruct the models and give the shoot a focus and a theme until you are comfortable (and experienced) enough to do both - photograph AND direct.

Watch, learn, read about other fashion photographers. I'm sure you will be able to improve your own style through their knowledge and experience. Attend workshops if you can. It will only help you gain further insight into your skills.

OK, that's my piece. Best of luck in your new endeavours.

Do you think I was giving him good advice? Or was I simply too harsh or worse - bitchy! Tell me readers - I'm agonizing right now!


The Ex's email response:
Thanks for the constructive criticism. I don't get enough of it.
I agree with everything you've said. Most of this stuff is just fluff - often that's all the model wants. And, since I've been doing this, the main thing I've been concerned with has been the technical side of it, and coming up with consistent results. The most challenging part of the process is what you're talking about, and I know my work is lacking in that department. Hopefully I'll continue to improve...

Thanks for your comments guys! Much appreciated!


laurie said...

you probably told him more than he wanted to hear, but i don't think that means you did the wrong thing.
and good for you, being so civil with an ex.

i am not friends with any of my exes. i don't even know where they all are.

(which reminds me of the old song: "All My Exes Live in Texas.")

when do you leave for Glasgow?

Timorous Beastie said...

I thought your comments were a bit harsh. Then I looked at his photos, and thought that you were much more polite and constructive than I would have been.

I know nothing whatsoever about photography, but the photos look cheesy and horrible to me. The girls look attractive in the widely accepted sense, but not beautiful or interesting, and (for me anyway) the images reflect outdated ideas about women and beauty. That said, maybe he's not trying to make art. Perhaps he just wants to be a small-time, run of the mill fashion photographer, in which case, he seems to be doing OK.

Timorous Beastie said...

Oh, well that response is very encouraging. Nice one.

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