Backstage Pass

Most people, generally speaking, don’t particularly like some or many aspects of how they physically look.

This, of course, and as you might imagine, affects, sometimes a little but mostly a lot, about how they ultimately feel about being photographed. It’s complicated.

As a portrait photographer, I’ve always felt like I hold a backstage pass to people’s inner worlds. It’s a unique position where I get to witness not only their outward appearance but also their innermost thoughts and emotions.

Every click, is like stepping into a private realm where individuals reveal their vulnerabilities, insecurities, and joys, often without saying a word.

A brave and vocal few talk about how they like/don’t like being photographed.

But most just show it to me in their body language and facial expressions.

The process of capturing portraits goes far beyond just clicking a camera; it’s about building a connection, creating a safe space, and earning trust. Through conversations and observations, I pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues that provide insights into how people perceive themselves and how they want to be seen by others.

It’s a delicate balance of being attentive to their words, their body language, and the energy they emit.

One of the most fascinating aspects of portrait photography is how it allows me to reflect back to individuals and how they see themselves. Sometimes, people come to me with a specific image they want to project – confident, powerful, approachable – and it’s my job to capture that essence. Other times, they may be more vulnerable, seeking validation or reassurance through the lens of my camera. Regardless of their mindset, I strive to honor their truth and tell their story as authentically as I can.

I’ve learned that the process of taking portraits is as much about psychology as it is about technical skill.

Each click of the shutter is an opportunity to delve deeper into someone’s psyche, to uncover layers of self-perception and identity. It’s humbling to witness the raw honesty that emerges when people let their guard down and allow themselves to be seen in their most unfiltered state.

Moreover, being a portrait photographer has taught me the power of empathy and compassion. I’ve encountered individuals from all walks of life, each with their own struggles, triumphs, and insecurities. Behind every smile, there’s a story waiting to be told; behind every frown, there’s a pain that yearns to be understood. Through my lens, I endeavor to capture the full spectrum of human experience – the laughter and the tears, the strength and the vulnerability.

In today’s digital age where image is everything, the role of the portrait photographer has become even more significant. We live in a world where social media platforms are flooded with carefully curated snapshots of people’s lives, often presenting an idealized version of reality. As a counterbalance to this facade, I see my work as a celebration of authenticity, a testament to the beauty found in imperfection, naturalism and realism.

Ultimately, being a portrait photographer is a deeply enriching and fulfilling journey. It’s not just about taking pictures; it’s about forging connections, fostering understanding, and capturing the essence of the human spirit. In every face I photograph, I see a reflection of myself – flawed, complex, but infinitely beautiful in our shared humanity.



Jack Hollingsworth