Whatever your feeling is about Valentine's day, it's a part of our culture and it's hard to get away from all the focus on love.
I've recently done a few projects that I haven't shown or discussed publicly. In a world where our lives are shared through social media, and everyone knows nearly everything that everyone is doing, it's wonderful to be a part of a project that people are secretly doing just for one special person in their lives.
I've done boudoir portfolios and some commissioned artwork done specifically for one person, and these projects have been very rewarding. I get absolutely zero "likes" for the work and no public recognition. That's ok. There's no need to shamelessly plug the work or turn private images into public ones as a means to promote myself.
Here's what I will show. This is a handmade one of a kind book I made for a recent project. There are just over 30 images on 24 pages that will be a very special gift for someone.
How I see it, these images are being created for two people. The recipient is being gifted a series of images created specifically for him or her. A special gift, unique for that person, where the subject shares a more private side completely out of love for the other. The second gift is for the subject. This project is special to him or her as well. Maybe the model has always thought about doing a shoot like this but never did, maybe something in his or her life has changed and they want the milestone remembered. Whatever the reason, there is always a part of the project that ends up becoming very special for the model as well.
So why don't I share the work? Because... In a world where so much floats around digitally, I believe that if someone wants to pursue a project like this, but wants to keep it to private, it should be kept private.
You can imagine what the first question everyone has is, right?
"Who's going to see this?"
The answer of course is... "Only those you choose to share it with."
I work with every client to set clear rules for what images are ok to be shared, and by what method. For some commercial clients, I sometimes need to wait until after they use the images so I don't steal their thunder. But for projects of a more intimate nature, I think it's best to always take the high road and work with the models to make sure they are protected and respected at all times. Not doing so would only add me to the long list of photographers who have betrayed the trust of models. A reputation is something that takes time to build, but also constant attention to maintain.