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TBT: Philosophies

So apparently there's this thing called "Throwback Thursday" that's "trending" around the internet these days, so here goes my attempt at being "hip" and "keeping up with the times" (am I doing it right?  I'm cool, I swear.)

From the inception of the idea to formally publicize a collection of my work, large portions of my time has been spent meticulously reviewing and editing photos, carefully picking just the right ones for my inaugural album.  I soon realized I didn't have enough recent photos that I liked and browsed through older albums to see if there was anything salvageable. 

There were three that jumped out at me:

Nava and his Colgate commercial worthy smile

Amanda looking fabulous as usual

My distant cousin Mary

We're not actually related, it's a lame joke because we share a popular Chinese last name.  This photo is the oldest of the three; I took this back in senior year of high school.

These photos reminded me of two important philosophies I hold as a photographer: 1) be friends with beautiful people; and 2) each person is beautiful in their own way, and it's my job to help by providing photographic evidence (hopefully from the second you can see I'm not referring to superficial beauty in the first).

We really are our own harshest critics; no one but ourselves know of our tiny flaws that seem humongous in our eyes, the insecurities that make us feel unhappy with how we look.  I know what it's like, which may be why I prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it.  But there have been many times when I've wished I could show someone how they look through my eyes.  So when I hold my camera in my hands, I don't just feel like I have the ability to show them, but also a responsibility to do so.

When I take a photo, it matters little if a bunch strangers like my photo, if my model is unhappy because she doesn't like that I'm showing the left side of her face, then I've failed. 

It may sound counter-intuitive but I find that natural shots, or candids, do the best at helping me achieve my goal.  While it may seem like what I'm going for requires the model be in full control of the shot, it's actually not the case.  Candids are perfect because I get to say, "look how nice you naturally look!" and then their "thank you" is worth more than a million likes on Facebook.

If you can believe it, all of these photos were candids of immensely good fortune.  Amanda was looking in the mirror, Mary was walking along the curb and was falling over (from laughing at something I said, have I mentioned I'm hilarious?), and Nava was looking back for our waiter when I tried to shock him with my flash (bit of mischievousness on my part that worked out pretty well).  I love these photos because of how natural they look.  A genuine smile has a wonderful contagiousness that begets another, resulting in happier people and prettier photos everywhere.  I hope that through my journey, I can eventually rely on skill rather than luck to achieve more shots like these.