George Lange, co-author of The Unforgettable Photograph: 228 Ideas, Tips, and Secrets for Taking the Best Pictures of Your Life, has had success few photographers can hope to achieve. He has worked with countless celebrities and politicians, and his work has appeared in Esquire, GQ, the New York Times, and more.
And the way this famed photographer sees it, the last thing we should be doing this holiday season is trying to take the “perfect” photograph.
“The least interesting picture is the person standing there smiling, staring at the camera – it’s the least revealing,” Lange told CBS This Morning. “You want to show what makes us human, what makes us special. And we’re trying to take pictures of what makes our lives amazing.”
So what can we do instead? Many of us are so accustomed to the “say cheese” photograph that we shy away from anything else.
“We are always trying to set up this perfect picture, and meanwhile all the really interesting pictures are kind of orbiting around that … These are the really special moments,” Lange remarked. “This is what’s never going to happen again.”
Examples of the “orbiting” image could include a child gleefully laughing as a dog licks his face, and Lange says the result is far more moving than the standard “stand and smile” picture.
But what can be done about family photos? Instances where the photographer must capture everyone together, at the same time?
“I move in on the group and I’ll do small pieces of the group, and then maybe step back and do the group,” Lange suggested. “It makes them more comfortable, and those little pictures on the inside are more intimate. And oftentimes, when people are getting ready for a group shot or leaving a group shot, (there are) more interesting interactions going on than when they’re actually posing for the camera…”
And for those who insist on taking photos of their food, Lange said he is “less interested in what it looks like” than what it actually tastes like.
“I took a picture the other night, we had profiteroles downtown in New York, and afterwards there was all this chocolate sauce around on the spoon,” he remarked. “I photographed that rather than this perfect dessert that got delivered. You could tell what the chocolate tasted like.”
The photographer concluded his CBS interview with a word on lighting. Many of us think we need to use a camera’s flash to capture an image in its entirety, but Lange said you should shy away from using the flash unless you have to.
“We have amazing light going on in our houses,” he said. All we have to do is be aware of it.
Watch Lange’s complete interview with CBS This Morning, below:
In case Lange’s name sounds familiar, Glenn Beck is one of the photographer’s many clients, and Beck has often spoken about how much respect he has for the man despite their drastically different political beliefs.
Lange was recently interviewed about the subject, and explained how the he and Beck “don’t see each other in terms of labels—Liberal, Conservative, Republican, Democrat. We find other ways in.”
“We talk about being parents a lot,” Lange told Mark St. Amant at The Good Men Project. “We talk about love, which is the most important thing to me of all. All of my work is about loving my subjects, trying to show what makes them so special, trying to find that place that we all connect.”
“…Our relationship is all about trust,” Lange continued. “It’s about the relationship that developed between two men who could not be more opposite in their political beliefs. Two men who found an incredible bond both creatively and personally as friends despite their differences. It’s a story I’m extremely proud of and infinitely surprised by.”
Front page image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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