In my best photographs I love my subjects. Not just a passing interest in them. No, I mean I really do love my subjects. There is something oh so beautiful about them at that moment that i just want to share it with the world. I look back through my work and the places I love the most have the best images. But how can you love nature? How can you love a professional model? How can you love a camera? Figuring this out has been a real step forward in my development as a photographer. I keep telling people to photograph what they love and concentrate on it. I can see it so clearly in my landscape images. My favorite places are wet, green and cold. Full of soft misty light. Photographs of these places really sing. Take me to a sandy beach and my work drops off a little. Enough for me to notice. Memories of struggling in the surf as a youngster linger a bit too clearly. Photographs of these environments just don't have the same passion and subtly of my favored locations. I could say I love nature, but the reality is that my love for nature is much more discriminatory than such the broad brush stroke of nature.
I have learned to love a particular light as well. Bright sunshine is glary and harsh. I never seem to settle with it. I don't get excited about an bright sunny day being forecast. My photographs on these days are also lackluster. I do for rain and mist. I get restless, particularly when confined indoors without a subject I love and the time to go and play with my camera. So my work follows. When the light I love rains on our beautiful place, my photography shines. They glow, they are passionate, they are stunning, and yes I do love my own work.
My great realization today was about loving the figures in my work. The best photographs of people I have taken are when there is a connection with the figures. Usually a deep passionate love. Whether the love is fleeting or enduring seems to be important for me. There has to be an attraction. Something has to turn the key for me.
A few weeks ago I was photographing a very beautiful international playboy model and I was really attracted to her eyes. I was reminded of Matthew Jack's statements many years ago that he always falls in love with women with gorgeous eyes. "Len, it's the eyes, it is always the eyes." I found myself laughing so loud. Here I am standing in front of this drop dead gorgeous woman and here I am thinking this person has such beautiful eyes, I am falling in love with her eyes. When she stared at me, my heart would skip a beat. I would have to stop, regain my composure and take yet another beautiful photograph.