by Jorgen Brandt Published 01/12/2010
Creating images that make a positive difference to the person(s) portrayed, is the goal for Jørgen Brandt, who loves to make (and not take) images of personalities. The images are always the final goal, but really he enjoys the process of image-making just as much as the final work. It is in the making of images that the basic 'soul' gets into the images, he thinks. The interaction with personalities, the gentle coaching that takes place in a session, fascinates him. It is always a great joy when a baby, child, adult - and also a nude - responds and works along in making great images that have a 'touch' of the person's personality in them. In a session, Jørgen claims, he can always feel when the great work starts to flow - and it is when he and the sitter both relax and start creating together. It is actually a very private experience for both sitter and photographer - it is a shared moment of connecting. The photographic technique is of course the photographer's responsibility, but that is a different story. "We all need to find our individual way of working, that suits us best," says Jørgen, "and to me that is a route based very much on educated and trained intuition. 'Intuition' in being open to and responsive of the 'moment'. 'Educated and trained' as in deliberately exercising your skills and techniques for composition, lighting, subject handling, moods, exposure, Photoshop, etc. To me Photoshop is a tool that has set image making free - I can do things to images that can emphasise or deliver the message - but it is, and will always be, just a tool."
Mainly his inspiration comes from the sitter - being his clients or models - as lots of it emerges during a session. A session starts off as a 'frame' of ideas, the evolution of the session might 'just' give images within the 'frame', but when the 'connection' gets warmer the frame might get bend or break. That's a hope - and a joy, when it happens. But of course it is always a joy and inspiration to look at and admire the work of great photographers and other image-makers - as you can enjoy, appreciate and learn from (reflections on) that.
While sheer copying others' work might teach you a lesson, it does not make that work truly yours.
Enjoying the work of great image-creators comes from loving their style and expressions. The fabulous black/white landscapes of long-gone Ansel Adams; the absurdities of Diane Arbus; the sensual, if not sexual, flowers of Imogene Cunningham; the gentle peppers and nudes of Edward Weston; the hypercontrolled nude shapes and personalities of Faye and Trevor Yerbury, the humorous, nude nuns of Vincent O'Byrne; the almost 'fantasy' architecture of Gerry O'Leary; the often partly surreal portraiture of Henk van Kooten - to mention just a few. Always it gives great joy to look at the work they do - he can do that for hours and owns books and originals from some of them - but he would never try to do what they do. Somehow that would take away the joy of seeing their work.
In quest of excellence
For Jørgen it has always been fun to learn more from tutors than from his own work - but since around 2004, when he got in touch with his first 'mentor', he has been more focused on the process of evolving his work and striving to become the best he can be.
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