Onto some deep thoughts...you've been warned...
I spent some time reflecting on these photos, trying to find a true understanding of my photographic style. An important aspect of being a professional photographer is consistency. When clients approach me to take their portraits, it's often because they've seen my work and expect the same outcome from their sessions. If I showcase too many styles, photo shoppers (not to be confused with Photoshoppers) may be conflicted as to who I am as a photographer and may question whether or not I could create for them a collection they would love. They may worry about which style they'd end up with and I don't want their experience with me to be a gamble. Ultimately, they may never hire me at all. And that would be terrible! So I figured I'd better figure out who the heck I am.
I have spent countless hours over many years studying other's portfolios and analyzing my own work, all in an attempt to determine what I'm drawn to visually...and artistically. I finally realized after pondering over these portraits that despite all the changes I've made to my own style, one major thing has remained consistent: I love taking close-up portraits of children. And not just kind-of-close-up but super-duper-close-up! I even admit to breaking the crop rules. Yes I cut off the top of the head. Yes I chop the chin. Tsk tsk. I will own it because I finally understand why I do it so often. One thing about being a mom I love so much is getting THIS close to my kiddos' precious faces! I love planting kisses. I love just sitting within inches of them and smiling, watching them smile back. I can't do that with other people's children. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so and I might be looked at as a little creepy. I realized that I love these zoomed-in portraits because I get to be kissably close to my children for an eternity. When they grow up and no longer want me literally in their faces, I will still have these portraits and will be able to relive such personal moments. I will get to see each little skin crease and each eyelash. I will treasure these images.
I want other parents to have this joy as well. I want them to look at their children's portraits and feel as if they can reach into the image to squeeze their cheeks, plant a little "boop" on their noses. I came to this realization after comparing the close-ups of my son below. They give very different experiences. The first close-up is what most see when they look at him. It's a view from a widely acceptable distance (pretty handsome I think). And even I see him like this most days. But the ultra close-ups are what I get to see in our very special mother-son moments, when we touch noses, when I give him a kiss on the cheek, when I comfort him through tears, when we're being silly and stare each other down until we see the other squinting with laughter. I've basically allowed others into my world to experience the warmth that fills my heart every day. I've given viewers the ability to see what I see when I look at my children. It's a wonderful perspective, full of innocence and pure love. And now that I know why I am so drawn to these space-invading close-ups, I can continue to create them for others with full passion.
So then who did I determine myself to be after all this reflection? Well, I'm a kissably-close-portrait photographer....booyah!