The Inspiration Behind the Lens

We all have a unique story to tell. An ever-evolving journey that is continually molding us into who we are; shaping our passions, and the way we see the world. More often than not, that journey shines through in our professional pursuits, and as a photographer, its visually reflected in our work, and our individual style. Inspiration can come from so many sources; travels, music, childhood adventures, or even stories passed down from generation to generation.

        My inspiration with Hardman Portraits stems first from my love of people; their stories, their differences, their cultures. I saw the way expressions and emotions could transcend past languages, religions, racial barriers, and tax brackets. Being a subject of the late Gordon Parks deepened my understanding of how those expressions could be relayed in visual works of art, that would speak for themselves long after their subjects had gone. I understood what using your camera as a weapon could really mean, and that there would be times that my photos would speak louder than my voice ever could.  Growing up around creatives, and traveling different parts of the world has allowed me to have somewhat of a birds-eye view 

on life. This view is a constant reminder to me to always hustle, but to remain humble. Having lived immersed into the culture of Japan for seven years, and traveling to different countries around the world since then, I am repeatedly reminded that there is always more to learn, more to capture, and an understanding of people to be deepened. This is why I love what I do.

        There are many who ask, “How would you describe your photography style”?  While my specific style is ever-changing, I think of myself as a people and portrait photographer, specializing in the manipulation of lighting to help portray the story of my subject. I believe that with the proper lighting techniques, you can create the image you want without using Photoshop or editing tools to enhance it. I do my best to shoot everything out of the camera instead of relying as heavily on post production. Authenticity in a photo cannot be added, or edited. It is that authenticity that has driven my love for print portraiture, even in an increasingly digital world. There’s something about seeing a work of are printed on an oil canvas, or a large print, that cannot be replaced, even by getting published.

Many photographers have paved the way for what is now possible for myself. Gordon Parks broke barriers in an era of division. Annie Leibovitz captured intimate, authentic moments. But, not only photographers – people. People of different nations, different backgrounds, and different cultures. They are the inspiration behind the lens. And they drive what I hope to share with every one of my clients as they entrust me to bring their vision to life.

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