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Thrust a camera in front of my face, I freeze. Do you? It also seems to provokes that awkward camera smile and a fear of being caught like you were naked. Maybe that’s why I’m happy behind the lens instead of in front of it.
This fear of being in front of the camera developed as a teenager when my parents made me smile for pictures. Being a teenager is awkward enough. Everything about you is changing. You loathe the way you look, the way you sound, smell, and feel; like you want to crawl out of your skin. And your parents force you to smile so they can put together their Christmas Photo Card to send off to Grandma. Ugh.
Sitting here, flipping through my childhood photo albums, I notice how natural and beautiful everything looked when I wasn’t aware of the camera. When I wasn’t forced to smile. Mom and Dad just snapped photos of me when I was immersed in an activity, conversation or reverie. No posing. No smiling. Just random shots of me, doing… whatever. Their lens captured me from the floor, more at my eye level, with personalized perspectives and angles.
Flip through your own albums and see which photos stand out the most. I’m sure most will agree it’s not the ones where you are standing in a line forcing a smile next to Mickey Mouse shot at eye level with a flash. I bet it’ll be the candid shots of your family and friends laughing and enjoying that moment without being aware of the camera.
So here is my advice to all the photographers in our wonderful community of Carmel Valley San Diego. This Holiday Season, turn off your flash. Get down on your knees or on the floor. Try different angles. Take more candid shots. Be the “Camera Ninja.” And see how better your photos will look.
Robert has always gravitated towards art at a very early age. Even winning numerous awards in various mediums as a child. He’s always believed that he’ll become an architect one day, realizing later that life had different plans for him. After spending several years behind a drafting table and a successful decade on stage and on screen, he discovered photography on a dare. His connection with talent agencies gave him the break to start shooting fellow actors and celebrities and eventually led fashion photography. A self taught photographer, he had the great fortune of assisting and being mentored by some of the best commercial & fashion photographers. He has an extensive background in the studio and location, but is best recognized for his natural light photography. His work can be seen on a number of magazine covers/editorials and fashion campaigns. When he’s not shooting, he can be often found at the beach surfing or taking detours out on his motorcycle or blazing trails on his mountain bike with his dog Cole.