Editorial Photographer Atlanta, GA


Obsession With Water Portraits

I started shooting personal work again thanks to a quote from Chuck Close. I had reached a point in my photographic life that I only picked up a camera for client work and, honestly, I was ready to hang up the cameras for good. Depression is a demon I have fought most of my life but it was just about to win this time around. 

I've pointed so many people to this Chuck Close quote when they were struggling but I never listened to it myself until a year or so ago. In my lowest valley it finally came home to roost in my own life. The short form of the quote many of you may know is this...

Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.
— Chuck Close

There's more to that quote though that finally seeped into my brain and woke me up from my sleep. 

Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea.’ And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.
— Chuck Close

Then I found this quote...

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
— Picasso

When these two quotes settled in I simply said to myself, "I need to get the fuck to work."

I had no idea what I was going to shoot but I had to get shooting. Inspiration was going to come out of doing the work. Sitting around and staring at my naval was doing nothing for me. In fact, it was just making me more depressed. 

I put out a call on my social media channels looking for subjects to shoot. Erin, pictured above, agreed to shoot with me. We've known each other for years now and I have so much respect for her. She's a single mom of four and a kick ass producer and stylist here in Atlanta. I never have a plan for these personal shoots. I let them go where ever they will go and I wanted to shoot something of Erin that showed her being strong despite the difficulties of life. I set this shot up...

We moved from that set up to this...

The next day I was going through the images and I zoomed in on this one. Erin looked like how I felt. I felt like I have been drowning but with being a dad and running a business I can't just let it take me. I started crying when I looked closer at this image.

There it is. The inspiration was coming out of the work. I loved this so much I started shooting more water based portraits like this. The next subject was Lindsay. This one was so haunting.

I'm not sure when I'll be over these. As long as I continue to get willing subjects I'm going to keep shooting these until I either have THE water shot that nails it or I have a series of them. I've shot a few men for this project but they have requested I not show their images publicly. 



Zack Arias10 Comments