DECEMBER 19, 2021
My biggest mistake in life so far is letting opportunities to do cool shit just fly by. I'm not an impulsive person, or at least not outwardly so. It's getting better, however. This idea of floating to nowhere, just sort of coasting with purpose, crucially depends on going with the chances that present themselves to you. This is not a deterministic view, it is very willful; but it has that beautiful quality of getting you places you never thought you'd be in.
I've never even considered taking serious portraits of people. I find no thrill in classic head and shoulders portraits, and retouching, lighting and this entire technical side does not interest me. I love taking candids, however. Pretty much all of the good people photos I've taken have come from doing something with a person I know and like, and sort of snapping a shot on the way. I'd never considered trying to recreate that vibe with a person that knows they're being photographed - a sort of candid-mimicking portrait shoot. That is, until I met Clara.
Clara also studies here in Toulouse. She is Italian, and she wears very special headbands. They are her grandmother's headbands - and Clara has the sort of timeless face to match them. If she were an extra in an Audrey Hepburn movie, she'd blend right in. I had this roll of Portra 800 lying around, and I sort of instantly knew what I wanted to do. Stroll around with Clara for an afternoon, and shoot that roll that's just that bit more grainy, that bit more vintage colored. I mustered up my courage to ask, and to my (and her) surprise she said yes.
Photos of people on film are special to me. When the scans come back, I tremble in excitement, and when I manage to capture the soul of a person the way I see them, it's one of the most profound kinds of joy I know. I've had this happen with photos of my family and friends, and this was no different. The roll came back, and the moment I opened the images, I knew I had done what I could. There was Clara on my screen, exactly like I see her. I was over the moon.
So, if you're as tentative as me, dare to go that step. Move to that city, try that new dance class, talk to that girl with the headband. You'll have no idea where you'll end up, but it'll be beautiful.