All of us have had our pictures taken. Some of us love it, and some of us hate it. But I think, no matter how we feel about the way that we look in a photo, we are all glad for a physical record that was able to capture a time and place in our lives. As an actor I have had my picture taken many, many times, and no matter how often it happens, the process always makes me feel a little bit exposed, a little bit vulnerable, and a lot wary about seeing what the camera sees. Inevitably the questions...Do I really look like that? Is my face actually that long? When did those lines appear? always spring up. But I would never let my vanity or my insecurity trump the wonder and pleasure that I feel being able to look at a picture and think...oh I remember when...
My guest blogger today is the fabulously talented and generous Megan Edwards. Megan is an actor/writer/photographer and she has a great blog http://www.charleystar.typepad.com
and a gorgeous website at http://www.charleystarphoto.com
I pestered Megan with some questions...over the holidays, none the less...and she graciously responded, no doubt up to her eyeballs in proofs and assignments. Megan told me that she found these questions to be tougher to answer than they appeared, although you would never know this, based on her eloquent answers. Further proof that she is a great writer as well as a great artist. And she is beautiful too. But before you start to hold all this against her, read on and then lose yourself in her gorgeous pictures.
What got you into photography?
I first got into photography in high school, but then an interest in acting took over and I dropped it for a while. Eventually I started shooting again as a hobby and fell back in love. I worked as a graphic designer for many years while I was acting, and would sometimes photograph for my clients as part of my graphic design work, but mainly photography was something I did for myself. I was always working on an art project (I do text-based photographic imagery) or some photographic essay, but i never really considered becoming a professional photographer. It wasn't until my daughter was born and I started photographing her that lightning struck that I really got into photography in the sense that I am now. It was a natural progression to start photographing other babies and children. One thing led to another and soon I found myself shooting weddings and the occasional commercial job. All of it is great, and I feel blessed to have found a second calling beyond acting.
You have also worked as an actor and a writer...how is telling your story with photography different?
My years working as an actress certainly influences my photography and I think -- I hope -- I am a better photographer for it. In acting, I was always trying to get inside the character, and with photography, I am also trying to get inside the character, or really, inside the moment. I strive for those images that seem like I, the photographer, wasn't even there, like the image just magically appeared, from the inside-out, onto the paper or screen-- much like how in film the best directors are not heavy-handed, but know how to let the story -- not the director's cleverness -- take center stage. In acting, also, you are trained to embrace the full gamut of human emotion -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- and not to judge your characters. And so I find that I gravitate toward images that capture this emotion, and I don't judge them based upon the normal conventions of beauty. But of course, many clients have told me that vanity reigns :) and they have had to nix some of my "photographer selects" because in certain images where as I see a story or an archetype of The Human Condition, all they see is a funny expression on their face or too many wrinkles. Which I understand, I do -- when we look at images of ourselves we are incredibly self-conscious and it's hard to see the bigger context. But I do find myself encouraging clients to see beauty in a broader way, and to consider their images in a more artful way. And when I can capture an image that is both artistic and feels somehow... eternal and universal and personal AND makes them feel beautiful... then I have done my job well.
What is your favorite subject to photograph? And why?
Oh, kids, for sure! I just love their sense of joy, their lack of self-consciousness, their beauty... I just find them incredibly intriguing and have a deep respect for babies and children and this special time in their journey of life. I love discovering their uniqueness, and all the ways that this little tiny person can, even at such a young age, express such a wide range of emotions. And I love the happy-go-lucky bubbly kid-shot as much as the next person, but I also love images that convey the quiet mystery in a child's face.
Dream subject and dream location to photograph!
Oh man, this is a hard one. Well lately I have been dreaming of a photographing a magical, beautifully designed, winter wedding somewhere in the snow... and I have always wanted to shoot in Morrocco!
I constantly have about 2 or 3 images floating around in my head for some of the fine art projects I'm working on, but just haven't had the time to photograph them in between my family and wedding shoots to because they involve a bit of production, so I would love the time to create some of those images. I also want to start doing more editorial and commercial shoots, especially those involving children. I love the company Wovenplay (http://www.wovenplay.com) and would love to collaborate with them, or some other children's clothing company where I could conceptualize a whole story around the line.
Thanks Megan for taking the time to be on Sorell Says!! And Happy New Year to everyone!! May 2010 bring you much love, laughter, health and happiness!! xo