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Capture the Passion

Capture the Passion

Often we take many photos without an authentic vision of the story we wish to tell. While having many snapshots can document an event, it’s easy to miss the chance to highlight the qualities that make something distinctive or unique, those certain details that make a moment truly incomparable.

I recently shadowed local artist Karen Barrow who was just featured at Florida Fashion Week for her latest automotive series, “Driven to Abstraction.” I wanted to observe her passion while creating her art, and explore how, as a photographer, I could truly depict that love through a picture. Barrow’s admiration of cars is derived from a mid-Michigan upbringing where automotive manufacturing drove the local economy. This influence led to her desire to create art that reflected the love story of a generation who appreciate and respect automotive history.

Barrow’s approach is marked by precise attention to every detail. Her art delivers an interweaving of many elements with an ability to draw out each layer that is combined to make each piece resonate. Her depictions hit on the heartstrings, as a vehicle was a major part of every family’s milestones. Barrow carefully constructs abstract art that taps into the viewer’s emotional core.

My experience of photographing Karen Barrow painting in her studio, in her element, watching the art work spring forth as she tamed and manipulated it made me realize how crucial it is to capture these moments properly. Otherwise, that spark that makes your subject so unique will be snu!ed by their surroundings. Applying the following tips while taking photos will highlight the passion that makes each of us truly shine.

Change Your Viewpoint: Take in consideration your viewpoint. How many di!erent ways can you view something by getting above or below your subject? You add an entirely new perspective purely based on where you’re positioned. By standing back away from your subject, you are not always able to capture the nuances that might drive the appreciation for the piece or the activity. By getting too close, you might not be able to identify what you’re looking for. No matter the activity or the artistry, finding an angle and creating your own viewpoint is key. Shooting from below allows the subject to dominate, while shooting from above softens its authority. Find an angle that empowers the subject while allowing the action or art to be illuminated.

Minimize Distractions: While attempting to highlight something, your best asset is the ability to delete the superfluous details. Chaos and clutter only add confusion to your main point. When things become a jumble in your image, it only detracts from your major focus. By keeping symmetrical and fluid lines, we eliminate unnecessary elements that only obscure your final impact.

Frame the Shot: It’s essential to frame up your subject. We draw attention to a picture by putting it in a frame. Why wouldn’t you take the natural landscape of things to frame your subject, whether trees in a forest, or shelves in an art studio? By taking natural composition into consideration, we are drawing the outside world in to focus on the main subject.

Cut it Out: When in doubt, crop it out. If something isn’t supporting your main subject, or too much negative space is taking away the impact of your subject, remove it. By cropping out unnecessary items and deleting dead space, we regain the attention of the fleeting eye. We guide the viewer back to where we want the focus to be, and eliminate any excuse for distraction. In short, if your one goal is to highlight the passion someone has for an activity, your best bet is to focus on the subject. When the love is clearly written on their face, fill the frame. Get as close to the subject as you can, without breaking the moment. The simplest photos capture their joy and allow you to take it with you.

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