My Feminine Side

I know that this is probably a weird question, but humor me for a moment. I grew up with a camera or skateboard in my hand. Neither of which my parents seemed to care about. They were more interested in working for the government, or some corporate setting. Creative people like me do not do well in those scenarios. I need to create. Be it with a camera, or with the exploits that the human body has to offer, whenever I am in the mood I will create.

Even to this day, I will ride down the street and see a spot that I want to try something on with my skateboard. And I have been that way, for almost 40 years. As a result, my photography was based around the athleticism of what could be done on a skateboard. The aesthetic of the location, the trick and time of day were all I thought about. At least, that was until a couple of years ago.

What happened a couple of years ago? I saw the ballet for the first time. Sure, I wasn’t amped to be there at first, but once I got there, I was hooked. I immediately called my friend that works for the ballet and said, “get me in there to take photos.” I don’t know if that is the right wording for what I said, but it sounds pretty close to what I remember. She got me behind the scenes and my journey began. I started shooting side stage because it was more interesting to me. Shooting directly towards the stage seemed like it was an ABD. Already Been Done.Side stage gave me more dynamic. I could use the lights on either side to light up the shot or back light the subject all in one take. But, I had to be quick because when the dancers were running towards me, I didn’t have more than one opportunity to get it.

What I started to learn about myself, is that I wasn’t shooting for me anymore. Which was all I did with skateboarding. Now, I realized that I was shooting for others. Especially women. Why? Because in the day and age of the #MeToo movement, I felt I needed to create something beautiful, instead of something cool. I started thinking like a dancer, and how they exhibit their passion for the dance. The look on their faces was just as important as the move that they were captured performing. I was able see a different side of photography. A feminine side, if you will.

Why might that matter? My initial guess is that most of the art and photography that is sold in America is purchased by women. Not because men don’t care, but because women do care. That might sound stereotypical, but it is true. Men aren’t inspired by that kind of beauty. Men are more impressed with power. Women are more inclined to understand grace. Once I caught on to that, I started looking for the beauty in everything. My wedding photography was immediately affected by it. What’s funny is that my automobile, motorcycle and skateboarding photos were just as affected by it. I looked for more than just a moment. I was looking for a beautiful moment. This is why I think my photography has become more feminine in nature.

This picture attached is that quintessential beautiful moment. This was taken during the Hallelujah ballet last year, performed by the Columbia City Ballet. Bonnie was and always is at the top of her game, and this performance actually made me cry. I had never cried at play or dance before, but this one really moved me. This piece represented the struggle of a woman before a bunch of politicians after the Charleston race shootings. This picture sums up that performance better than any other. The passion on her face shows her pain, struggle and belief in the subject matter at hand. And, the outstretched arms and legs give the raw feeling of being truly helpless to do anything about it. This dance was pure art in motion and gave me one of my favorite images. I have no idea how many pictures I have taken since the ripe age of 8 years old, but I do know that this one gets shown every time I talk about my career.

If you have never experienced the ballet, do yourself a solid and get tickets this year. You are not only be entertained. You are helping to support an art form that has been around longer that you and I put together, and it will be here long after we are gone.