from the other side of the lens

a few weekends ago i spent a beautiful fall day with a long time friend of mine. it had been eight years since i saw her and she happens to be a photographer with a touch of magic. she actually managed to get me infront of the camera for a mini photo session. magic, i tell you!

{therefore all the images in this post are used with permission to kelly west photography}

i’ve spoken before about self portraits. but this, being seen by someone else. allowing myself to be seen by someone who is close to me, is another story. {when i say allowing it’s more than just ‘yea sure, you can take my picture’ or ‘oh man, he’s got a camera pretend you don’t notice’} this, this knowingly handing my nikon over for her to use at her request, is more along the lines of ‘i am no actress and so i’m freeing my insecurities to just be myself and let you document it’ …  you see, there is trust there. trust that the photographer sees you as you see yourself. as you feel in your skin. even without enough notice to primp or actually comb your hair. this feeling of who we are sometimes does or sometimes does not come across in photos. photography is mostly optical illusion. but this, dare i say, is real life.

not only did she see me, she saw my son too.
in all his own camera shyness, she saw him just as i do.
and that is a gift.

there is something about being on the other side of the lens.

i felt the trust pass between subject and photographer, and i carried that feeling with me on my next photo shoot with the family of four i placed in front of my lens. being on the other side of the lens allowed me to be seen, to risk losing control and to just go with it {even if it felt foreign and uncomfortable at first.} i think this experience can only help me become a better photographer and it definitely gave me a respect for those families i’ve had the pleasure of photographing.

and i must say, there’s something about a long time friend seeing you as you really are. as you’ve always been through 8th grade geometry, high school, and college. something that doesn’t change over time or location or situation. something innate in the genetic makeup of my being. ‘earthy’ she says.

i’m still a treehugger in her eyes.
thank you kelly, for a most beautiful day, it was a real gift.