Looking Away by TheNarratographer I do like last minute shoots. Courtney, the girl you are about to get to know a little, contacted me and asked if I would like to work with her this morning. It was short notice, last minute but I thought, “why not.” I jumped in my car no later than 6am this morning and made the couple of hour trip through the heart of the south west in the direction of Plymouth. I had no idea what to expect, her portfolio has only a handful of images in it and although she looked like someone I could work with, I was understandably hesitant. However, I am glad I made the tiring trip. As I have spoken about recently, I want to spend more time editing my images and hopefully turning them into something more polished. Of course, I do not want them to lose what I hope they already had. I feel that my images have always conveyed a sense of context, of the viewer actually being there, before the subject and I am a little nervous that my new technique may undo what I have worked so hard to achieve. I do not want the editing to remove anything from the overall image. I want it to enhance. So, I decided that Courtney would be my test subject, if you will. Well, Courtney is someone who has restored my faith in the younger generation. There is something about 18-21 year olds these days that seems a little distant, as if they are never really fully engaged with us or with life in general. They spend their days glued to Facebook, their Xbox, or anything else that doesn’t actually require them to converse or interact with a fellow human being. They seem more themselves when hiding behind 21inches of LCD screen and feel that they can only honestly express themselves when typing (badly) on a keyboard. That is not the case with Courtney. She is, believe it or not, only 19 years old and when I arrived at her family home, both her and her father made me feel unbelievably welcome. They plied me with coffee and we sat there chatting, almost oblivious to the fact that we were supposed to be being artistic and capturing images. The coffee was good, the conversation was uplifting and I almost forgot I had my camera with me. Still, with an empty coffee mug before me, I finally realised my purpose for being there and we got around to taking some images. The way I normally work is to get everything right in camera, leaving as little for Photoshop as possible. I adjust for colour, tones, levels of contrast and for composition in the camera, trying to capture as close to the perfect image as I can. Problem is, I never want to change anything when I upload them to my computer. They are how I wanted them to be and thats how they will stay. But lately, I have been comparing myself to some other photographers/Photoshop experts, and have come to the conclusion that my overall image quality is lacking somewhat. So, I have bitten the proverbial bullet and started to edit. But I wanted to give myself as many options with each image as possible so instead of trying to perfect everything in camera, I took middle of the road images that I could later manipulate. The only thing I cared for in camera was composition. No doubt about it, Courtney is a pretty girl, but it wasn’t her aesthetic qualities that interested me. No, it was how powerful her stare into the camera was. She had this really nonchalant, dismissive and almost disregarding stare that possibly paved the way for some authentic, dynamic portraiture. Almost Afghan girl, minus the poverty and desolation. As I said, I cannot believe she is only 19 years old. To me, thats a kid. But she doesn’t act and more importantly, doesn’t talk like a 19 year old. She is an older head on fledgling shoulders. With her entire life opening up before her, I can only wonder at where her modelling may lead. She is a powerful presence, a one of a kind…and I am so glad I got to work with a new model.