October 2010 marked my 25th anniversary of being in business as David Pearlman Photography. Times have certainly changed in a quarter century. Film cameras have become dinosaurs; high-resolution digital cameras and Photoshop have revolutionized the way we think about photography, retouching and artwork. Professional photographers have always had a lot of toys to play with, but never as many as they do today in the new era of digital imagery.
What has remained consistent is that women are still beautiful and continue to love having their picture taken. Equally as consistent is the male desire to view such images of the greatest gift ever bestowed on our planet. One of my favorite aspects of a photo shoot is when I bring to my computer monitors the images I just shot of a particular model, and her jaw drops in amazement. The reward of making another human being so incredibly happy with the results of the creativity I put into their images, in and of itself, is worth everything to me. However, add the ability to make my living doing what I love to do, and it is that much more satisfying.
Photographing women is all about helping them feel beautiful about themselves and comfortable with me. It’s about engaging them, building a rapport and taking them on a journey into the innermost aspects of their souls. It is about gaining their trust and building their sense of confidence and never crossing the line of what is and what is not professional and appropriate. It’s about observation and learning what makes them respond in order to extract the expression I am looking for. The relationship between photographer and model is one that can result in a brilliantly rewarding experience for both individuals.
When Kelly Harman, a South Florida model, contacted me for the purpose of expanding her portfolio, we talked for quite a while – both of us perhaps sizing up the other’s potential as artists. I brought out a camera to see how she would respond and she was all pro. Clearly we had to get more talent (hair stylist and makeup artist) and create some images for her.
With a call to Jill Oscar-Salles, a dear friend and wonderfully talented makeup artist, we were half way there. Her connection to another amazingly talented woman, “Evy”, hair stylist extraordinaire, took us to where we needed to be.
They arrived at the studio at 9:00 a.m – about 90 minutes after me. I had coffee made, muffins and danish for those of us whose livelihoods do not depend on our being skinny and fresh fruit for everyone, mostly, however, for Kelly. Cool tunes in the background set the mood for an amazing day as the artists began performing their creative magic on Kelly’s already naturally gorgeous face.
When she was finished with her makeover, I held out my hand and walked her to the area where the lights were all metered and the shoot was to take place. I asked her if it was okay if I touched her on occasion to remove a fleck or brush away a wayward hair. She responded with a smile and a nod, obviously appreciative that I respected her enough to not simply assume it was okay to for me to put my hands on her. It is subtle forms of respect like these that build trust and allow the models that I am photographing to let their guard down. At the end of the day, this trust creates the critical moments, the perfect fractions of a second when a model bares her soul to the photographer – and he or she is ready to capture it.
Here are a few of the results from this October 13th photo shoot in my Boca Raton studio.