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.