As two-year-old Parker Curry recently showed museum-goer Ben Hines; you never know when a moment of pure emotion and photographic brilliance is going to present itself. This was a profound moment, fortunately captured, that along with so much else - reflects some vital fundamentals about pictures.
Usually I am writing with the intent at drawing attention to the power of printing images and how printed photos are what can really affect and make a difference. That said I’m not, nor is our company, too proud to forget the forest through the trees and appreciate the power of photography even when it’s not in print. We love photography all the same and respect and awe in it’s beauty and power; we simply believe in print it’s at its best.
Yet, here is that moment when I’ll step back and emphasize a moment of profound photography even though it’s in digital form and not necessarily captured by a professional.
I am sure for all you living in the States you were well aware of this story before I (an American now residing in Poland) was. A young, two-year-old girl by the name of Parker Curry was recently captured in a candid picture taken at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. staring in awe and admiration; mouth-agape – at former first lady Michelle Obama’s official portrait. The cell-phone-captured image, taken by museum-goer Ben Hines, later went viral and was shared thousands of times.
Two year-old, Parker Curry in awe at former First Lady Michelle Obama's official portrait in the National Portrait Gallery; Washington DC.. Photo capture by Ben Hines, source: New York Times. Which of your photos will leave such an expression?
There are many avenues to explore this fascinating image and moment – many much more profound than what I will do – yet, I will keep my focus on the world of photography. For my sake, there are a few key points this moment highlights as well.
First, the incredible power of photography as a communicative medium. I mentioned in an earlier post about KFC, how we not only live in a visual world, but it just is that a picture can convey so much with so little in comparison to words. As the old and tired saying goes: a picture’s worth a thousand words.
As I typed out the description of Ms. Curry in the photo for this post, in my head I was thinking and imagining: OK, yeah, well that’s how to describe it, but then I re-opened the browser with the image and again it was: WOW! That expression just hit me like a freight train. The whole scene made sense almost instantly; was clear – with just a quick glance.
Photography’s immediate and profound impact is nearly unmatched.
Another aspect of this moment I would like to bring attention to for this specific post is a profound photo doesn’t have to only come from the best professionals. Even starting pros or enthusiasts or amateurs can capture a moving scene.
Yet, for you pros and others currently putting in the work to achieve greatness as a professional, this is not to take away from your blood, sweat, and tears. Instead, think of what you could achieve with all that you know; believe with your skill and expertise you can turn an otherwise ordinary, everyday shoot into something that is jaw-dropping. Never stop shooting because in the end you never know when or which of your photos will be that photo.
So let me finish by continuing to bring it back down to Earth and tying it all together. I know the real player in this story with Parker Curry was the painted portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama and that that specific medium is very important to the profoundness of the moment for all involved. However, traditional portraiture is just another form of visual arts and we know the power of visual arts (see above and What KFC Taught Us About Photography).
Today the world is dominated by cameras, not easels, but a similar art form remains nonetheless. Focus first on your clients and your area. Give them a “portrait” that will leave them in awe of themselves. Give them an image that will leave them changed. As Tabitha Yvette wrote on Facebook in response to the “Obama Photo”, “this is such a powerful moment. The look of awe on her face, mouth agape, whether she knows it or not, she has been changed.”
I believe Tabitha. That picture very well changed Parker Curry. For each person it will be something else that leaves them with such an expression. The question is, what is it for your client? What can you capture; what can you portray to them – which of your pictures will leave your client with such an expression?
And for that extra emphasis give your camera portrait a “canvas” and have them printed. Parker Curry’s expression, after all, didn’t come from looking at a computer screen.
Source: Safronova, Valeriya. “Michelle Obama Meets the 2-Year-Old Who Sees Her as a Queen.” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/style/michelle-obama-portrait-parker.html (accessed March 11, 2018).