Some Thoughts on My Photography Philosophy: True, Authentic, Real

May 26, 2016

Jean-luc goddard

You all know I have a thing for “authentic photography.” In fact I say it so much I should probably make a hashtag! But really me and the truth go way back. A lot of people pride themselves on being authentic but I think we all mean it in different ways. Some people are authentic in the sense that they are an open book. They will tell you EVERYTHING about themselves within moments of meeting. That’s not me…at least not usually. Some people will say they are authentic because they aren’t afraid to say exactly what they think – like it or not, you’re going to hear it. That’s not exactly me either….at least not usually.  I don’t usually like to impose my truth on other people but I do usually stay true to myself.  I’ve never been one to be swayed by popular opinion or change myself to fit in or do things that make me uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean I never worry about what other people think (I admit I do) but usually I am authentically me anyway. (Side note: Notice all those “usually” caveats? That’s part of being authentically me – a lawyer at heart).

Marisa McDonald
Marisa McDonald Photography

When I started Marisa McDonald Photography I found my calling toward “authentic photography” pretty quickly. I largely skipped the “posing” lessons, focusing more on camera mechanics and lighting and loved when natural one of a kind poses emerged from real connections. Seeing authentic moments pop up on my computer is what grew my passion and its what I hoped to find at each new session.

Just based on my own personal experience as a photographer, I can say for sure that some photography is “truth.” In fact I believe some photography allows us to see even more truth than we see when we observe a moment in person. But is all photography “truth? What about when we make ourselves look totally different than the we really are (either with clothes and makeup or with editing after the fact)? What about when we only share the “highlights” and don’t share the less flattering moments?  What about when we only “act out” an authentic moment with someone we have no real connection with? All of those things definitely affect the truth of what we perceive but those falsities do not make photography itself false. Photography itself is always truth, even if it is truthfully capturing people who are being fake and even if it is edited after the fact.

This is why I take it one step further. I don’t just offer truthful photography. All photography is truthful. I offer authentic photograph designed to capture real connections. Usually I observe my clients to find ways that they connect naturally or I may ask them what they do together. Often I will also offer some “connection suggestions” but I am never looking for them to act out a scene. I am always looking and waiting for the real connections to emerge…and they always do…and they are always AUTHENTICALLY TRUE!

Maternity Photographer
Marisa McDonald Photography
Mother-Son Portrait
Marisa McDonald Photography
Joshua Tree
Marisa McDonald Photography
newborn photography