Iconic Photo Story: Striking Balance Between Creating & Being Present

It was the first time my four-year-old son had been night swimming. As I watched him duck and dive, I remember feeling so proud of his water confidence.

I balanced on the edge of the pool to get the shot, trying not to fall in. Once I felt I’d captured the moment enough, I put my camera down and jumped in.

I find it so important to strike a balance between my creative process and being present as a Mum and wife.

I chose this image as my Iconic shot, because I feel it’s an image which draws you emotionally, tells a story and yet, in the same moment, is a work of art.

I’m obsessed by its textures and light. I simply love the contrast between the blues and the neutral tones — a true representation of my personal colour palette. Lastly, and most importantly, it’s not staged, not posed — just instinctively and authentically a portrait of my son, as he is right now. For that reason, I will treasure it always.

In the past year or so I’ve started shooting a lot more instinctively — from my belly and my soul.

I’ve started to see and feel a moment at exactly the same time.

It’s become impossible for me to separate the two.

When I started shooting professionally six years ago the story was quite different.

I over-thought everything: the composition, the moment, the clutter, the clarity, the emotion, whether this was to be my best work yet, whether it would bomb, what did I want to say with this image, but most crucially what did my client want to see.

It made seeing and feeling the moment the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I’d often end a session with an excruciating headache and totally wiped out. The editing was even worse, I’d sit for hours with a fine-tooth comb, analyzing and scrutinizing over every image. I loved it, but the process was starting to feel empty.

I stopped sharing on social media.

I became afraid when client enquiries came to me — in case they’d ask for something I didn’t want to shoot.

I was artistically lost.

At the end of last year I got sick. Really sick, really fast. I was cured almost as quickly, but it set off an alarm bell in my head.

Enough was enough.

It was time to sing so loudly with the voice I loved. It was time to stop worrying and start shooting again. I yearned for connection, depth, a sense of love for what I do, for the process of feeling the moment and telling my client’s story and my story.

Our right now became my mantra. After shooting this way for almost a year (at 2016), I now have a website which shares the images I love… only those which I yearn to take and it finally feels like a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping it continues.

It’s all too easy with the overwhelming, all-consuming influence of social media to lose our way.

To get side-tracked and drawn into what others are doing, particularly when you live in certain places and there’s an apparent limit to interesting locations. I’ve relocated countries a handful of times and one of my first, go-to activities when I arrive is to research what other photographers in town are doing, but I’ve also found it as important to look, research, observe and then step away.

I choose not to follow them on social media, not through a lack of support for my fellow artists. Not at all. But, to keep me sane.

My inspiration comes from the moment within which I am shooting.

It comes from the story I’m telling for the individuals in front of my lens.

Nothing more, nothing less.

I absolutely follow inspiring photographers across the world. I enjoy hearing their voices, feeling their lives and understanding their creatives processes. I also storyboard my sessions beforehand which leads to an unhealthy amount of time on Pinterest, but its not to copy poses, compositions and practical applications, it’s more about finding trigger points.

It’s about filling a little box of matches to pop in my pocket for when I’m shooting, and as the personalities combine and the light plays out its dance together, we light the flame and capture it for always.

Intentional Documentary Photography

This Iconic photo + story was contributed by Chloe Lodge.

Visit Chloe’s Website | Instagram | Facebook.


Have an Iconic photo with a story to share? Send us your story.


Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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