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Reality Shouldn't Be Made Up with Just Smiles

I love beautiful smiles but it's not a rule for a great photo. Read on to find out what I think when it comes to portraiture and capturing reality and authentic expressions.

I grew up hearing my parent’s orders about smiling every time someone would like to take a picture. It worked for a couple years but when I became a teenager it started to change. Not to rebel or because I was sad; sometimes, I like to stare the camera like a crazy person or simply look to nowhere. But I have to clear things up – I’m not telling people shouldn’t smile, I’m telling it should be authentic.

I think photography should capture the instant mood—it doesn’t matter if it’s happy or sad; both can be beautiful. Some moments they are embraced. Let’s remember Atget, a long way ago – look at his pictures and how different was the relation with the camera. So natural!

Photography cannot be reduced to fake family memories or standard behaviors. I don’t want this article to look like a hammer philosophy, so if you really believe people should smile every time, keep shooting, no problem. When I’m shooting and people automatic group and smile it’s great for me, but I’ll never ask someone to do this pose or do that face. Maybe in commercial terms it’s important, but if you’re shooting for hobby all this concerning should not take your attention.

When digital photography became popular, the wish for “perfection” turned a monster. People shot, looked at the LCD screen and said, “Please smile a little bit more, please tilt your head up your head 2 cm…” But it’s not enough, the entire unwanted stuff can still be fixed at Photoshop. So, back to analog to open my mind in this way. You don’t have to be stuck in perfection ideals, it’s all about capturing the moment – light, colors, and shapes.

To finish, some of my lomo friends have good examples finding the perfect, instant of a deep look, ignoring all the clichés. Their works are a huge learning for me. I only chose B&W photos this time.

written by agenciafleur

4 comments

  1. emperornorton

    emperornorton

    My wife drives me crazy. I try to get one of her authentic expressions and the second she spies the camera, she reverts to cheesecake. Argh!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. 134340

    134340

    it's natural style :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. neanderthalis

    neanderthalis

    Artificial smiles are something I try to avoid.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. gregor-muller

    gregor-muller

    i think exactly the same as you. at the moment i am living as an erasmus student in italy and as soon as anybody gets his camera all the people gather round for a group picture. all of these look exactly the same and are, in my opinion, completely superfluous. in the end everyone will go home with hundreds of pictures where everybody smiles. but in reality, its just one picture of the same thing over and over again: a false smile!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch, Italiano, ภาษาไทย & Spanish.