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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

were i dreaming when i

20040816_214937_0035i sometimes daydream that i will one day find myself sitting behind a camera finding new ways to show you the worlds most recognizable faces. Doing portrait shoots for the faces we all know intimately, have seen a thousand times and are still curious to see more of.

and the daydream becomes a waking horror when i find myself in front of a subject who breaks down the camera and refuses to be reduced to film.

i think about these people, who move with a certain grace, smile with a certain comfort and are bringing a beauty from a place that only the lucky are able (by chance) to record. happenstance like. People whose power, or strength, or calm simply will not submit to the restrictions of cameras.

and it terrifies me.

20040816_213413_0017Sometimes we sit, camera in hand, and look at our subjects and know we must create artifical movement to imply spirit, create artificial depth or meaning to downplay some other more dominant focus. And we play tricks with light & shadow, we change the depth of field, we take shots from uncomfortable angles, rely on clothes, rely on makeup, rely on interesting materials in the photos. we lay on these things as crutches.

sometimes, the same situation requires none of those things and the emotion, or power is authentic. no matter how the shot is setup we capture it.

and sometimes, we sit in awe of the scope of our subject. unable to quite figure a way to capture it.

In the last three days i've had opportunity to stand behind the camera in impromptu candid shoots for two beautiful women. One i choked on the light. One i choked on the scope.

20040816_215157_0038and i know, that i am far from mastery. I know that in my work to find control of the images i'm getting i will occassionally be gifted (or cursed) with a subject i simply do not posses the ability to bring to film with any strength.

and that happened for me tonight. it makes me so angry i could cut my hands off at the wrists.

two potentially amazing shoots in three days. two botched shoots. two times i fell prey to bad light, to not being able to handle the speed of candid photography. two i failed technically, if not in what i brought to the camera with me.

this shit matters to me.
it really really matters.

i want to make images that blow people away and when i'm given the gift of incredible subjects i can't allow myself to choke and produce one good image for every twenty photos.

20040816_234957_0106i know i'm being hard on myself.
but thats how i push myself to excel.
that's me reaching for something.

tonight, somehow, rather accidentally i ended up as a tag-along on a dinner with jude, kiki, jack and claire. We went to dinner and the light was sensational. the light was.. fuck the light was everything. and no one seemed to mind my obtrusive camera in their faces so i went with it.

then we came back here and played some 80s trivia, and it started out slowly. it started out.. simply. but as the night grew on, the focus of my photos gravitated to my curiosity about claire. and in the end, everyone knew that i had given up even caring enough to pretend otherwise.

and she relaxed into it. or seemed to. and it was like we cut this channel of energy photographer-model right down the middle of the room, right over the 80s trivia board. and she was posing, very subtly for me. and through one eye i would be composing a shot, through the other i would be looking at her, and her looking at me, and for a while, the complexity of the rest of my life just fuckin ebbed into my desire to capture what i was seeing on film.

20040817_010155_0152now the irony of this is, i said i wanted a model who would just let me go. Would let me take photo after photo after photo till i could break through the idea of a man and a woman, or a photographer and a subject to this place where time doesn't exist, and energy is the currency being traded. and i got that tonight, somehow, by being alone in this chain of energy between the camera, her and i, i got that.

it's the fucking point of photography for me to get there. to get to that place where, nothing matters more than this stream of intense images ripping through my eyes.

and i got it.

but, because ruzz is ruzz, almost fucking nothing came out the way i wanted. Unless i want to make them all thumbnails. make them all 200x200. unless i want to stare at my inability to transfer what's there to film.

and i have a spoon here beside me, and i'm wondering if i gouge my eyes out would these be the last images i held? would, my brain hold onto the last of them, so clear, so amazing because nothing new was coming in like a fucking tide and washing them away?

so you can see claire in the POTD today, but you can't, you know, see claire.

you can see the thinnest fucking thread of what i saw.
and it kills me to think there is no second chances sometimes.

20040816_223258_0065but folks, you can count on this much from ruzz, maybe not the next time, or the time after that, that i sit down to take photos of someone who extends beyond my reach, i will be ready. One fucking day i will be ready. and when that day comes i'm going to scream it from the rooftops that i got the thing i wanted most in my life, and if God is fair, he will strike me down right there.

maybe i'm a tad worked up here.
but thats what passion is.
giving a shit.
feeling it all the way.

Posted by ruzz on August 17, 2004 at 03:46 AM in the joy of photo graphy | Permalink


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just tell me you've had that moment and i'll bury you.

Posted by: jude | Aug 17, 2004 4:54:09 AM

so much ruzz in here. huge amounts. light and dark (charlotte). pain and suffering and ecstacy and love. there's a lot of love in here. love of the image, love of the model, love of the world and love of the self. what the world needs now for everyone. this post, photos and all, is a poem.

Posted by: brad | Aug 17, 2004 4:57:35 AM

thanks bro. thats a lot of love talk for me being a broken shell of a man :)

Posted by: ruzz | Aug 17, 2004 2:12:41 PM

ruzz, I don't think you want the platitudes but those are powerful photos. Your description of your work/art/angst/trials/successes/failures is just what I have heard from every artist I have ever known, and what goes through my own head whenever I try to create or capture that shining moment. We can all tell this matters a great deal to you. Not that you won't, but don't get so caught up in your results. You asked for the model and moment. You got it as you said. Revel in the moment. THAT is what matters. We don't know what you blew. That is what makes those photos that you put up great (because they are). I have seen ream after ream of "great" photos and you know, it is the contrast of good to bad, and few to many that makes so many great. Looking at 65 amazing photos really is like looking at 65 ok photos because they just blur together. You think you want that, but man, be careful what you wish for, you just may get it and find out it isn't what you wanted after all. Then it is just the spoons again. Go for that moment of connection again. That is where it is at!

Posted by: Alchemist John | Aug 18, 2004 7:06:59 AM

logically, i agree with everything you said, but, trying to translate that to reality .. not so much :)

Posted by: ruzz | Aug 18, 2004 1:58:13 PM