This session was both challenging and enlightening for me.
The first discussion I had with Ms L, she explained that she didn’t want any airbrushing on her photographs. Her intention was to view and explore facets of herself through a photographer’s eyes. The photographs could be colour or black and white processed, as I normally would, but otherwise remain untouched. I was incredibly excited, but also a little fearful. I felt like my photography would also be very ‘naked’ – the truth is that sometimes airbrushing can help you mould and sculpt a pose that you may not have got entirely right in camera. Sometimes it’s hard to get a pose absolutely perfect, I might miss things on the day, or prioritise the flow and energy of a session – knowing I can fix it in post if necessary.
Since we are stripping back a bit in this post, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how I feel about airbrushing / changing features. Over the years I have really wanted to pull back on this aspect of editing. I have no problems removing temporary features like blemishes (or even moles that are planned to be removed etc.) and I chat with people about this prior to the session. Airbrushing / re-structuring can also help with certain poses where breasts might become askew or disappear – I don’t see that as a fundamental change as such. Make-up, hair fixes, clothing pinching the skin I also see in a similar vein. I have only ever been asked once to slim someone down, and I so deeply regretted agreeing to do it for her. So now I change only things that I see as impermanent, based on discussions with the person, as I want people to see their unique beauty and fall in love with that.
So when it came to Ms L’s session I decided that I would really focus on ensuring that everything was absolutely right in camera. Surprisingly, I took less photos and found myself really improving on posing. This session was actually a real revelation and I’m very grateful, especially that Ms L was happy for me to share her beautiful photographs with you.