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Image Of The Week 5 – ‘What do we have here?’ Henri Cartier-Bresson


Today’s Thursday, which means it’s time for a picture of the week. I try to give myself a couple of weeks before blogging a wedding to desensitize from the wedding day. As a photographer, you can not help carry the emotion with you on and after a shoot, and it’s easy to let emotion interfere with what is a good image, or not. Hence the wait.

This click is from my last wedding in Houston at the historic Rice Hotel, in the Crystal Ballroom. This image of the week shows the father of the bride dancing with his daughter during the first dance. I love to photograph making layers with structure and geometry, and then wait for the peak or decisive moment. My images reflect a timeless moment. But to get there, I’m always moving my eye around the frame of the Leica before pressing the shutter. This is to avoid ‘tunnel vision.’ I want to remove elements of the image, especially at the edges, or lens flicker, that can so easily creep into a poorly constructed image. The fact that 95% of my work is captured in real-time, without photographers interpretation or direction, is key. And why I love what I do.

So don’t be afraid of thinking beyond the cliche image. Keep asking yourself, ‘What do we have here?’. Think out of the box and do this all day. Even when you don’t have a camera or cell phone in your hand. See the moments, and ‘click’ it in ‘ your head. I photograph mostly using diagonals in my images. Forget rules of third or ROT, as I prefer to call it. ROT is a super dull concept. Yes, I know. You, like I were probably taught the basics of photography when you were first googling it, or opening an old Kodak book. Dynamic Symmetry is how I picture in my mind using two diagonals lines and then ninety-degree lines going through those diagonals. Dynamic Symmetry has been used by master photographers, like Annie Leibovitz and Henri Cartier-Bresson, painters, and architects going back to the Greeks. It’s no longer a secret. Hey, google it.

It’s pretty cool to remind myself, like this morning, how fortunate I am in to have my own business. I love my job. I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet. Not only do I get to use my camera for a living, as I have done for 25 years, but I get to do what I love. I meet so many fascinating people, from photographers to my clients and their families. I work from my office adjacent to our home. My wonderful daughter is homeschooled. I get to be her study coach every day, we hang out, go to coffee shops, and build on our father-daughter relationship. I get to take my youngest daughter to school everyday and I’m become a pretty good cook. I run long distance and in decent shape. I have an amazing wife and we all seem to get along and like each other. Life is pretty incredible.

You can bookmark the complete series here and I encourage you to sign up for my weekly newsletter. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.