We live in a world where people expect perfection. We are fed perfection through the media, through magazines and advertisements. Pressure to be perfect, look perfect and act perfect are everywhere. So, what’s the power of realism in a world that’s addicted to perfection? I didn’t realize the expectancy of our role as photographers until I photographed a client with a roll of film. She seemed less confident, unsure of herself and didn’t like the idea of not having Photoshop to ‘touch up’ her images afterwards.
I assured her; I told her she was beautiful and not to worry about changing a thing. Afterward, when the film was developed, she looked at them in awe and was excited to see that she loved how she looked with no “touch-ups” at all. It was like she was surprised to see herself in a ‘real’ light.
I see this mentality not only in my clients, but also in fellow photographers. Our work is expected to be flawless. Our clients want to look their best and if they don’t look their best, then they expect us to tweak and tune until their perception of beauty and perfection are met.
Where did this perception come from? Are they taught by others? What came first? Is it the individuals who want to look perfect, or the photographers who make the individuals feel like they NEED to look perfect?
I think the flaws, wrinkles, and imperfections – the realism of life that we all carry – create timeless beauty. Realism is approachable; we can relate to others through realism. My hope is that I can enable clients to see themselves in my portraits. Rather than seeing a flawless, unapproachable creature, I hope that they see an authentically beautiful human being. Simply put, I hope they see a real person who radiates real beauty.
As photographers, we have the power to make a difference, instill confidence and teach clients to embrace themselves fully. After every session, we should all ask ourselves, ‘how much is TOO MUCH in post-processing?’
I believe that my clients should leave a session feeling good, but also proud that the images captured show who they are. Being a photographer gives us so much more power than merely creating something – it allows us to instill confidence in others, to embrace who they are and accept the things they cannot change. Most of all, photography allows us to celebrate the power of realism in a world that’s addicted to perfection.
Let’s use our gifts to make a difference, educate clients about realistic beauty as well as allowing them to remember who they truly are.
About Leigh Ann
Leigh Ann discovered her passion for photography at a young age and pursued photography on a competitive and professional level while attending the University of Alabama. It didn’t take long until she was shooting and assisting alongside world-renowned professionals who have worked for TIME, PEOPLE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, SOUTHERN LIVING among others. In 2004, Leigh Ann graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in studio art and journalism. Since then she has had many opportunities to live, explore and photograph all over the world. Her travels have taken her to Alaska, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Germany, Puerto Rico, Nova Scotia, and throughout the continental U.S. Soon realizing her lifestyle and goals revolved around her love of travel and photography, she incorporated L.A. Photography, LLC. Her work appears in local, national and international publications and is described as fine-art documentary portraiture.