The Art of Why

IMG_5287While filtering through thousands of photographs I’ve taken over the last couple of years, it occurred to me, I’ve taken THOUSANDS OF PHOTOGRAPHS.  Hundreds of thousands, maybe a million if I had to venture a guess!  My photography career has now spanned two decades and some MAJOR technological advances that I never would have DREAMED of back when I was starting out.  The romantic darkroom days have long been replaced by long hours parked in front of a monitor, culling, editing, tweaking and ultimately sharing those images with my clients.  There have been lots and lots of evolutions of my craft over the years, but one thing has remained the same.

I love taking photographs.

But why? I’m not sure I ever really asked myself that question.  People always ask me HOW I became a photographer, and I’ve got my quick and ready response for that.  There’s also been ample time spent pondering the BUSINESS side of photography. The usual stuff- how to work smarter not harder, how to stand out in a sea of photographers, how to create images that will sell…blah blah blah…boring.  My whole identity has been tied to photography for as long as I remember. “This is my friend Suzanne, the photographer,” has been a popular introduction for years.

But WHY photography?? What is about photography that stole my heart and became my chosen form of creative expression?

Clearly, I’m a visual person. Every art form that I enjoy creating is VISUAL art.  So that answer is too easy. It’s more than that.

My brother once told me, “Definition is the soul of existence. If it cannot be defined, it does not exist.”

Photography is defined as

  1. the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)

Although, I’ve always preferred the Latin root definition.  WRITING WITH LIGHT.

That says it all, doesn’t it? We are telling stories, with light.  We are capturing memories, with light.  We are documenting lives, events, fleeting moments in time.  WITH LIGHT.

I love the light.  I love everything about it.  When the setting sun dances on a calm lake, sparkling like a million diamonds tumbling from the sky.  Or when the warm, morning glow skips past my window as a friendly alert that a new day is dawning. Then there are the shadows, that always accompany the light, so much depth in the darkness.

As a photographer, I am obsessed with the light.  To be good photographer, you sort of have to be obsessed. The light has a special relationship with everything it touches, and in order to capture those things, those people, those places, those moments, we have to understand those relationships.

 

The light is the first thing I notice everywhere I go.  And I’ve often wondered, in a ‘chicken or the egg sort of way’, was it my attraction to the light that created my love of photography or the other way around? I suppose at this stage, it doesn’t really matter.  But I’ve always enjoyed chasing the light, literally & figuratively, and its taken me to some very interesting places.

By following the light,  I’ve photographed a zillion faces.  Ok, maybe not a zillion, but its up there. And I remember EVERY ONE. In my mind, in the visual landscape that I call my brain, I remember them.  Because every face belongs to a spirit, an individual, a human being that has touched my life even if for just that brief moment when I trigger that shutter. And then, POOF! that face magically takes root in my garden of memories forever.

Behind every face, is a story. I may not know the whole story, but I find peace in the fact that there is one. And as a photographer,  by capturing that moment, I get to tell a little piece of it.

 

One of my FAVORITE parts about the type of photography that I’ve specialized in for the last 10 or so years is when I get to see the photographs actually fulfilling their purpose of telling their story, out in the open, where they can be heard and enjoyed.  Not living in our phone or stuck in the vast wilderness of a hard drive somewhere.

When I enter a client’s home and see the memories we made together gracing their walls, proudly displayed, all I see is LOVE.  In that moment, its not about “I took that, I’m awesome.”

It’s more, YES. Everyone gets to enjoy the story.  The beautiful story of families being born and babies turning into big kids and everything in between. Its that relationship between the light and the spirit, frozen in time for us to gaze at and cherish any time we want.

As far as I can tell, I am a photographer because I have to be.  It’s who I am.

It’s the radiant energy in my heart, and the light of my spirit, that create the PHOTOGRAPHS I take.

So maybe its as simple as that.

I am a SOUL PHOTOGRAPHER… and you’ll find me where the light is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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introducing BASIC DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY Workshops

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Holly

As I prepare for my spring wildflower sessions, I find myself revisiting this fabulous senior portrait session from a chilly December day that seems so very far away…

While the biting wind kept us mostly inside, Holly didn’t let the wintry mix dampen her spirits as we explored the rich, textured hues of of our downtown locales.    Gorgeous girl, love her sass & style!

**Now booking Senior Portrait Sessions. Email me today suzanne@suzannereiss.com and ask about Senior Portrait Packages for 2014**

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Artistry in Motion

No matter how many times I shoot at Mayfield Park, I never grow tired of sharing the space with these magnificent creatures.  Today these handsome fellas, and one fine lady, were out in full force.  And every time I spy a glittery glimpse of blue & green through the cluster of trees, I find myself holding my breath in anticipation with the hope they will soon emerge to grace us with a magical presentation of their majestic beauty.

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boy’s eye view

Q: It’s an unexpected snow day.  You have a mountain of work that you (finally) have a chance to really dive into. Just then, your 8 year old son and his buddy invite you to join them on an adventure.  They want to show you the ‘epic stick fort’ they discovered while out exploring earlier.  What do you do?

A: You go.  Every. Time.

(disclaimer: I cannot take full credit for knowing the answer to this question.  I learned from watching my mom.)

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Crazy Little Thing Called Love

This week while wrapping up a particularly charming session, I wistfully declared aloud, “I love my job…” to which my 7-year old son who was sitting nearby responded pointedly, “Why?”

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Caught somewhat off guard by this question, I paused thoughtfully before answering.
And what I realized is I love this job for a reason that had not occurred to me before his question made me really think about it.

Sure, I love the creative element.  I love getting to know the children and families I photograph.  I love being silly, rolling around in the grass and gathering giggles and smiles from my subjects.  I love how mom and dad ooo and aaaa at the ridiculous cuteness of their little ones when they see the photographs for the first time and exclaim, “How in the world will I choose!  I love them all!”

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I love all of these things about the career I have chosen.  Yet, on this day, as I glanced over the images  I had just been working on, I saw something else.

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As parents we adore our children more than we could ever have imagined. And we know this in our hearts through and through.  We don’t often get to SEE it though.  And there is a beautiful magic in getting that visual of OUR love through the power of a photograph.  A moment captured where we can see the radiant joy our children bring to our lives.  And as a photographer, I get to share that expression of love with the families I photograph so that they may reflect on and enjoy that visual forever, long after those children have grown into parents with children of their own.

This, I realized thanks to my own son’s thoughtful inquiry, is a powerfully inspiring element of my ‘job’ and perhaps the very reason I love it.

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Get it while its HOT!!

https://www.livingsocial.com/cities/581-round-rock/deals/905354-one-hour-on-location-photo-shoot-with-images

 

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Mini Sessions are here!! And going fast…..

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Booked your mini session yet?  Wondering what’s included?

Here’s the scoop:

99 bucks gets you:  the 3o-minute session at Bull Creek Park, online proofing gallery of the artistically edited and retouched images from the session, and (2) digital negatives.

I have a few spaces still available so message me at 512.879.8188 to schedule yours or email suzanne@suzannereiss.com

See you there!

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A Little Austin Love

WOW! When it comes to providing an interesting, unique & creative location for your photo session, Austin always gets the job done.  In addition to the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds our fine city, the urban center is full of color, texture and amazing art that promises to deliver just the right dose of local flavor to your family portraits!  As we head into another fun season of spring photo sessions, enjoy a peek at some of my favorite images from this past year of living and shooting…..Austin style!

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One Year Down…

New moms hear it all the time….”Enjoy every moment because it all goes too fast!”

Maybe so.  I’m still not quite sure how my infant son turned into a 7 year old boy pretty much overnight.

That’s why, when I first met baby Noah a little over a year ago, 7 days into his shiny new life, I knew I was in for a treat.  Its always an amazingly cool experience to photograph a newborn bundle, however, with Noah it was extra special.  His extremely smart parents had the foresight to book me every 3 months for the WHOLE year.  So I knew going in that I’d not only experience the joy of seeing this little guy grow up, I’d get to document it – every three months -for the first extraordinary year of his happy life.

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