Photos that stop time.


“Photography does not create eternity, as art does. It embalms time, rescuing it simply from its proper corruption.” -André Bazin

I started this week talking about the non-photographers I love, the ones who bring some everyday beauty in my life and Instagram feed, and I’m ending this week with some talk about professional photography, and the photographers I love following.

I know that I came down a little hard on people with overly perfect pictures the other day, just as I came down on people who throw hashtags around without thinking last week. I do keep my feed mostly free of “stylists” as a personal preference in what I find most interesting and enjoyable, but I do love following some good photographers. Some of them, like my friend Susannah, I follow both because they are good, and because I am genuinely interested in their personal life. But there are others I follow just because their work gets what photography is about.

ef6391ecad03b0405576c3fed952d017There is no shortage of excellent photographers in the world. Especially in this digital age, where everyone with a camera or phone is a “photographer.” We have diluted the term until it means almost nothing. I have watched friends build photography businesses, seen the work behind it all, and I am careful to inform people when they ask me to photograph their weddings or families: I am not running a professional operation. I am a former art student who stumbled into this because she loves beautiful things, loves true things, loves the way that art teaches us just a little more about life.

And because I love these things, I love following people who are masters at producing this sort of art. I read that Bazin quote at the top of this post during my first year of grad school and it has stuck with me. Photography seizes a moment from the degradations of time and holds it in a sort of perfected memory. A good photo allows us to relive how we felt in that moment, not just how it looked. Which is why, in all my harshness about suffocating beauty and perfection, I still follow lots of professional photo-takers. It isn’t the glossy finish that’s that problem, it’s when the polished scene has had all the emotion, all the life, scrubbed out of it that I wrinkle my nose in distaste.

6e01090581d58db821f0ed5c3a692992I love photos that show things that are real, even if some posing was involved. I love photographers who capture moments beyond merely staging them. I love artists who embrace all the colors, textures, and light that this world has to offer. I love when I’m scrolling through my feed and a photo passes by, not merely a pretty picture, but one that reminds me why all of us are out there holding phones over our dinner, snapping away: We want to save these moments.

IMG_3114(1)Here are some of the photographers who fill my feed with little glimpses of embalmed time, little images of frozen beauty.

@adventureweddingphotogs // Jen and Chris intersperse beautiful travel pictures with perfect quotes and gorgeous couples. Just the right balance for my literary soul.

@_whitneyneal // Ok, so really I have just been a Whitney-fangirl every since she photographed my wedding, and you should all probably jump on the fangirl(boy) train too.

@arianatennyson // I think I’m in love with every photo this girl has ever posted. In a world where everyone is going lighter, Ariana photographs her subjects in that perpetual light just before sunset or right at dawn – warm light with darkness hovering around it.

@perryvaile // I found her when I was helping my brother look for a wedding photographer and DREAMY is the only word to describe her images.

I always love finding new photographers to follow… who are you loving?

Images: 1/2 /3

PS: All of my own [much lesser talented and legit] photography tips and FAQs can be found here, though starting this spring I did switch cameras so it maybe needs a tiny upgrade.

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4 Responses to Photos that stop time.

  1. Lawson Stone says:

    Many, many years ago, I was desperately snapping picture after picture of a particular view in Colorado… and a little girl tugged at my arm and said, “Daddy, you will never take a picture of this feeling.” Wise girl, that one.

  2. Elliott says:

    I’ve thought long and hard about why I like photography so much. I really enjoy that it represents an intersection between technical execution and artistic vision… but I also love that, with a click of a button, you can own a moment and memory. You’re stopping time, but you’re also (hopefully) preserving more than that.

    I’ve also found that, in some situations, being overly concerned about taking photos takes away from enjoying a moment, so maybe there’s something to be said about the varying and subjective value of photographing something. And this is coming from the guy that everyone expects to document church retreats and events for long, promptly-uploaded Facebook albums!

    P.S. My first comment on your blog! 🙂
    P.P.S. I don’t know what it is, but I am never able to pull off B&W well. Props to those who can!

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