” I don’t just want an image to tell a story, I want it to be felt deep within your gut.” That is precisely what Heather Lindsey Robinson of Heather Robinson Photography accomplishes with her photography. Every image speaks straight to our insides. And they stay there. Please help us welcome her as our most adored featured photographer for the month of October.
Childhood and lifestyle images are often full of color and joy. How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography by portraying such images in a different way?
I definitely love color and joy. And there is evidence of that in my work. But I also love rich black and white images. For me, it isn’t about breaking or following the rules. I operate on emotions. I am always waiting. Constantly scanning the rooms when I walk into them for that yummy dramatic light that is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. I look for a moment or a connection that simply must be captured because I NEED to always remember it. I am fortunate to be able to witness firsthand all of these details that define childhood for my children. It feels like I have the very best seat in a theater watching my favorite play. They are the most dramatic people I know. So they need spotlights. And the rest of the stage is darkened with shadows.
For us as a group, the use of deep strong shadows is what sets the mood in our lifestyle images. How do you define “mood” in your own lifestyle photographs?
I don’t typically plan shots, pose my kids, etc. I try to go unnoticed. I take plenty of shots of them doing their thing in not so dramatic light. My number one motivation to pick up my camera is to document. But I don’t just want an image to tell a story, I want it to be felt deep within your gut. One day, I would love for my kids to pick up a photo album filled with photographs that I took of them and not just remember a moment but feel like they are reliving it. So, to me the “mood” is the overall feeling of that specific moment.
- Why do you like portraying your lifestyle images in this way? What draws you to this style of photography?
Shadows add dimension and make the photo feel more alive. There isn’t constant, “perfect”, even light in my home. There are deep shadows everywhere so I capture them. If I didn’t use them in my photos, I wouldn’t be telling the truth. I am trying to photograph my life as it really is.
- When shooting in beautiful light, what attracts you more- the light, or the shadows that go with it?
My first thought was light. I mean what is a photographer without light? But then I thought more and I think I need the shadows to be present too. I love it when there is harmony between the light and the shadows.
- What do you find inspiring in childhood that drives your need to capture it?
What isn’t inspiring about childhood? Childhood is the closest I have gotten to seeing magic. It tugs so strongly at your heart and your soul. You want to laugh and/or cry at practically everything these kids say, do, feel. Like I said it is magic.
- Can you give one tip on how to shoot in “moody” light or low light?
I like to open up my lens as wide as it will go. And when that is not enough, I will bump my ISO up, way up.
- What keeps you going when you feel uninspired?
My kids. They never stop being interesting to me. Whether they are sleeping, playing, creating, crying, snuggling, eating, destroying, they are always doing something that fascinates me. I feel compelled to capture it all. I have this constant underlying awareness that this time is passing by at light speed. And little by little they won’t be available to me like they are now. I won’t be able to photograph their lives or them in such a true and intimate way.
I really like to take photos in barely there light. I love shooting at evening twilight or on stormy days just after the rain stops.
What’s in your camera bag?
You don’t want to know. Crap. Lots of receipts, pony tail holders, wipes, diapers, a onesie, dirty tissues probably, maybe even a black half eaten banana. Oh and my camera too.
JPEG or RAW? Photoshop or Lightroom?
RAW. Photoshop although I really want to get over my fear of Lightroom and learn to use it.