I feel the need to put a little blurb on my website here about authenticity. It's always a topic in the photojournalism realm of photography. I want to be as authentic as possible in my work. Click on my home tab here or above- what do you see? One of my "words that describe my business" is authentic.
Why? It's important to me.
Why? Because I'm not into the pretty or the perfect. If I happen to direct a shot-even loosely directed- I will call it a lifestyle shoot. My main goal with a documentary (or family photojournalism, whichever term you prefer) photography is to show you how beautiful your real life is. Even the ugly parts. At the root of it is love and there is nothing more precious in this world than love.
So what does that mean for a full documentary shoot?
I'm not directing you or your posing. I'm not telling you what to do with your day or what to wear or how to act. If your child happens to start pulling books off the shelf when your back is turned? I'm shooting it, not stopping it. Big brother has a meltdown over not getting candy? I'm shooting it. You get a phone call in the middle of our session and the kids start going bananas? Yep, I'm shooting it (that's motherhood after all). Dog licking the food off the table? I'm shooting it. Why? Because it's real (and it happens to us all the time!). Because it's your life. Because these are the moments that make up your everyday. These are the little moments that make up the big picture of childhood or parenthood. One day, years from now, you'll look back at these moments that didn't really seem to matter at the time and
they matter so much now.
What will I NOT shoot? Clear and imminent danger. I obviously will step in and intervene if there is danger. I'm a mom and a decent human being. I won't allow someone to be injured because I wanted to get the shot. Nope, not going to happen here.
I also won't photoshop in documentary photography. I won't remove something from the room or smooth out wrinkles and call it documentary- if it's discussed beforehand and it's something you really feel passionately about, I'll call it a lifestyle session- which doesn't mean much for you- the client- but in the photography world, it does. I strive to show the truth, the beauty of our lives, just the way it is. You don't need to be 4 sizes smaller to be beautiful (and hear me when I say this- it's a HARD pill for me to swallow too...I'm trying everyday to be okay with it because honest to goodness no one cares what I look like but me- my family loves me just the way I am and you should love yourself too. Seriously. I struggle too and I will talk with you openly and candidly about it before your session if you need to!). Your house doesn't need to be spotless and look like a Pottery Barn magazine to be beautiful.
So, with all this said- it's important to me to be authentic in my work when I do a documentary/family photojournalism session. Like a journalist out in the field, not interfering with the scene they are shooting, that's what my aim is to do. Present the truth. And I think you will be moved by the beautiful everyday moments that make up our days.
Ready to schedule your awesome session? Whether is a couples session, maternity, family, or newborn session, wedding/elopement, or anything in between- contact me here and let's start planning.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.