It was challenging photographing Kytiza. Likely it was my mental block around photographing Kytiza a certain way that got in my way. For the last few years, I’ve been photographing artists and yogis, both who regularly converse with self expression on a regular basis that makes it easy for them to let go in front of a camera.
What I learned from photographing a camera shy person are lessons that I think are important no matter who I photograph in the future.
· Start with intention, but no expectations. I forgot the biggest point in why I wanted to photograph Kytzia in the first place. I wanted to photograph a beautiful and loving soul who’s love and generosity has been such a wondrous source of inspiration to me. Instead, I focused on making a damn good photo that would get praise—for technique and style. Though highly important, those are not the reasons I started photographing in the first place. I started photographing to understand the world around me and mostly to listen to the unseen. While photographing Kytzia I focused more on getting her out of her shell when in fact she was already radiant just as she was. There was some preconceived image of Kytzia I had that would fulfill my social media brand that I forgot the magic of surprises.
· Conduct not direct. Photography often sounds predatory in nature—do a photoshoot to capture the image. But in that rhetoric a power struggle overshadows the subtle essence within a photograph. Kytzia wanted me to give her direction as reassurance for her shyness in front of the lens, and I took that to mean over producing an artificial look. I think about the great conductors, such as James Levine and Leonard Bernstein, who elicited inspiration for their players. The best conductor I worked under was Nicole Paiment, who gave a vision that allowed me to sing the way I needed to sing, even when I was inexperienced. The photographer is a guide, a railing, not a line boss.
Those are my two cents from my session with Kytzia. The next session is on Saturday with friend and photographer Luciano. Let’s see if any of this sticks.