It’s been my observation that photographers are an extremely varied bunch and that it’s difficult for any potential customer to know exactly what they’re getting when they look at partnering up with an artist. Most people who go in search of photography services seem to think of the standard school pictures photographer who tells you to tilt your head in such and such a way and smile just -so- and only takes a picture once you’re positioned just how they want you. I am not that sort of photographer. In fact I might be more properly called a hunter than a photographer if that’s your standard of service.
As example I give you the shot to the right. This photo of Stoop Kids in their Square Cat Vinyl show last November represents my hunter philosophy when it comes to shooting. The entire show and their interaction with each other is summed up very neatly in this one photograph. They are one of the most dynamic bands I’ve seen on stage and I was giddy to capture their souls. Lead singer and bass player practically nose to nose while the saxophonist peaks out under the mic stand.
Philosophically, I truly believe that posed photography represents more of the photographer than of the subject. When I shoot I want to capture the reality of what’s going on in a spontaneous and creative way. Not cast my own thoughts and opinions on what should be onto the situation. Your photos should be about you and who you are, not some aesthetic that some photographer prearranges for you.
Next we have Breezy Peyton of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band from the HiFi in March of this year. For this show we were packed in like sardines and couldn’t move without getting in the way of a lot of other people so we dutifully stood our ground just to the left of center stage for the whole show. When I’m shooting, my absolute #1 priority is to make sure I’m not disturbing anyone else at the show or distracting from the entertainment. If you’re lucky enough to get into a show then you’re a guest and you should act like one. I refuse to use flash or supplemental lighting of any kind because frankly, flashes are annoying as hell. If I can’t get a shot without getting in someone’s way then I don’t get the shot. Simple as that.
I’m also not a fan of fancy post-processing. There are some amazing tools out there that will let you make your photos look like just about anything. But that is, frankly, a fraud. The world is more than nice enough just as it is without a lot of augmentation. Get the shot that’s there and if the light’s blue then bloody well make the picture blue. It’s the photographer’s job to capture the moment, not create it out of whole cloth.
The last point I’ll make is about capturing pivotal moments. As example I give you this shot from last year’s Parkour demonstrations at the State Fair. I love the expression of the guy who’s not literally walking up a wall. This whole show was filled with amazing moments and you almost couldn’t click your shutter fast enough. For me, this is the essence of “hunter photography”. Grabbing that perfect moment out of the air at exactly the right time and bottling it up for all to see is, in my mind, the whole point.
So that hopefully gives you a bit of a sense of my own personal philosophy on photography. If you’d like to see more of my work please visit my site at RobSlaven.com or on Facebook (IndyLivePhotography | Rob Slaven Photography).
Contact me for photo ops in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas at IndyLivePhoto@gmail.com or in the comments section.