A Girl & Her Violin - A Platonic EssenceMonday, November 26, 2012
Of late, in my stage of photographic retirement, I try to keep the shutters of my cameras clicking as often as I try to go up and down the stairs of our home. Both actions are not only good for the body but for the soul.
I have often told my photographic students that a backdrop, a subject, a light, a camera and the photographer (all usually at parallel planes that never intersect) are a formula for failure. If you happen to be paying a model to face your camera, that will not guarantee success either. Nor will playing loud heavy metal music or bribing your subject with alcohol or mood enhancing substances.
You need a plan, an idea, a concept or whatever you might call it. For me the most important item is justification for taking the picture. That justification can be a job or it can be a project. But what is most important is the give-and-take interaction of wills. There is my will to photograph what I see or think I see. On the side of the subject there is a willingness or unwillingness to show who they are. Or in many cases to project what they think you see in them.
But it is not always a battle of wills. Or at least not between my granddaughter Lauren, 10 and her grandfather the photographer. She always asks me before I take any how many I am going to take.
I don’t think Lauren needs makeup but it is fun to incorporate Rebecca, 15, her sister who is an expert makeup artist. Besides I don’t see why I cannot make a 10-year-old look older because I can. Soon enough, sooner than they think, these girls will be trying to look younger.
The battle of wills is between the sisters. One hates to have makeup being applied, the other one loves to apply it. In the case of Lauren and her violin, Rebecca made the decision that she did not need to use lipstick as the eyes and the violin were sufficient.
To me a portrait of a little girl with her violin and especially if she is wearing a sailor dress (an item of my romantic past and customary photographic prop of my past-and-near relatives) is iconic in the modern sense of the word. I would opt for an older Platonic expression. A portrait of Lauren and her violin is an essence.