“The Family of Jen” and Beyond
OK, that’s IT!
I need to choose a style of photo or subject to focus on.
While I do enjoy flitting around taking pictures of anything and everything, and editing or not editing as my mood dictates, I have been feeling for a very long time that my rate of improvement is far too slow. I do feel like I’ve learned a lot since I began taking pictures with my iPhone. At first, I didn’t pay much attention because while I tried to be creative, the images were mostly for myself, so why bother with the details? Hmmm, could there be a relationship between that laziness and my rate of improvement?? Anyway, once I found Instagram, I did start to pay more attention to cropping and other details I hadn’t bothered with, but certainly understood. It’s amazing what having an audience does for my discipline. But now I’m at the point where I recognize that if I’m going to keep myself happy, I need to improve faster. In order to do that, I need to choose a focus.
I’ve decided on portraits.
Growing up, we had The Family of Man in the house and I spent hours studying the faces of the people in it. (One day I hope to make it to Luxembourg Castle where I just learned that the permanent exhibit resides!) I feel a sense of yearning when I look at the raw emotions captured in those images from around the world: a yearning to touch and connect with the person in each photo. I want to generate that feeling for viewers of my own photos. I’m certainly not going to be able to take images like those in The Family of Man and keep my day job, but it’s a high standard to keep in mind as I take, edit, and share images.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m shy?
It will be an additional challenge for me—which is another reason I’m choosing this aspect of art to dive into. How will I handle my feeling that it’s disrespectful to take a close proximity image of a stranger without first speaking to them, let alone asking if you can take their picture? Will I challenge my own integrity, or will I buck up and interact? That remains to be seen. Or perhaps I’ll just stick with mostly friends and family. The future is unknown.
I am finding it remarkably difficult to aim the camera of my phone at people without creating dis-ease in them, which of course shows in the image. Nonetheless, here are a few portraits that I’ve taken thus far that I’m pleased with. Consider this the “Family of Jen”.
It’s my starting point for this project. Thanks so much to my friends and family for letting me share a part of them.
I welcome your feedback and critique. Without it my progress will continue to be slow.
One last thought: Are you thinking about, or already working on, a specific aspect of your images? I’d really love to hear about it. It will help keep me motivated to engage with you about it. Use that Comment section down there! ⬇
-Jen / @eelnej