“Reflections on my work…continued.”

(There are two threads of thought here, I decided to post them together…)
My camera has become who I am… I understand I am in a unique position, I shoot what I want, I don’t do photography for money, I have worked with NGO’s but always gratis, for expenses, and I retain copyright ownership of my images. So that kind of independence gives me a freedom so many photographers do not have, no only in what they choose to shoot, but in how they process, etc. I learned so much about myself shooting humanistic work, documentary, photojournalism…Something that always surprised me was my ability to remain stoic and detached while shooting so many unhappy scenes, unhappy human beings, gritty, sad scenes…but I quickly realized it was just how I dealt with my “work”, I could shoot these images and not flinch, but later, in post, I realized it was all still with me, I realized how much it had touched me, even hurt me, to see such sadness. And to this day I remember it all, each one…I’ve written about this before in earlier posts, so i’ll leave it at that.

I don’t believe in being dogmatic about my work, or my approach to my work, which includes everything from styling to composition to post.  I have images from two years ago that I am processing once again because my vision for the image has changed, I like to think it has “refined”, I like to think that when I revisit an image and view it, consider it, and think I can make it “better” in my own esthetic scheme it actually is. Does my personal sense of esthetics change about what I think is beautiful?  Is that my goal for each image, for it to be “beautiful”? The work I have done and show on my website of the homeless or poor, can those images that illicit feelings of pity or sadness be considered beautiful?

I see I need to separate the work…my documentary and photojournalism poses an interesting question about whether those images can be considered beautiful, and I will consider that in another post.
(2nd thread) I want to focus my thoughts briefly on the portrait work I have accomplished since returning from the Middle East, and specifically that dealing with the work I did with the model, Lisa, for seven months, that I have written about in earlier posts.
I wanted to write about this because I continue finding myself reviewing the work, selecting an image I am not satisfied with, thinking about what I want, and then returning to work in post yet again. I see so much work, particularly fashion work, that leaves me cold.  I understand the idea is to sell the garment, and yet the dearth of emotion to me makes it “just a picture”.
From what I have experienced from the viewers of my work it is that they are seeking an emotional experience and connection in a photograph, something they can relate to on that level, something that touches or excites, something that stirs them, and that has become the goal of my work! (…to be continued) RG