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Take 250 of These and Call Me in the Morning

I was in a bad place yesterday.

Then I went to a scheduled shoot at Jacksonville Center of the Arts (JCA). 250 or so exposures later I left a changed man.

I often blog about what photography means to other people, generally the recipients of a photograph. Yesterday’s experience reinforced what photography means to me.

Don’t get me wrong – one of the allures of this endeavor is making other people happy through the imagery that is created. And this photograph did not fully emerge until well after I had left, when the photographic process is completed through post processing. But the act itself of photographing – of setting the lights, the process of taking the pictures and watching them as they materialize on my laptop, and, perhaps most of all, the opportunity of working with such wonderful and talented people, can be very uplifting in and of itself. And served this day as needed medicine.

 I left feeling privileged to be a photographer. My aching back and sore knees let me know it was work. But it was joy, too.

Some of the people responsible for my attitude change are pictured below: David, Willie, and Dominiq (from left to right).


I eschewed bringing a background and used a wall of the dance studio we shot in (this was a location shoot. My back will tell you that). To me, this brought an honesty to the images reminiscent of Lois Greenfield’s work.

The images will be featured in promotional material for the studio. As such, a graphic designer will probably extract the dancers and place them in other contexts. I knew this going into the shoot and designed the lighting to make it easier to do the selections. I wasn’t concerned with the background knowing this, but some inner voice must have told me that not using seamless or another background was the way to go. There are practical reasons for not using these with dancers – the seamless, if used on the floor as well, will not survive long, and if not you’ll see the floor joint anyway, and the muslin or canvas will wrinkle – but, again, there is also an honesty that comes with a marked dance floor. The wall we can make anything we want. I used a gradient to highlight them on what was a yellow wall, although my decisions for this image in post went more to a simpler white background which made this effect very subtle.

Driving home I was exhausted, to be sure. Tired and hungry. But I left a changed man. For the better, I think.

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