Story Behind the Photo - The first "Raw" set.
I've always been a HUGE fan of gritty b&w photography. It's what makes my heart happy, but back in early 2015, I would shoot b&w because I loved it, but I never dreamed of releasing anything raw or unedited. The reason being is over the years I guess I kinda developed a certain style to my images and in my head, it's what people expected.
One afternoon I was sitting with my friend Dalis at my studio and we were going over a recent shoot. We were looking at some of the unedited ones and she was like "dude, why don't you release these like this? They look awesome!"
"It's unedited man! It doesn't have that look."
"But it looks so natural, and just beautiful. A lot of people are wanting that more natural style now."
She then proceeded to pull up some photographers out west who were indeed doing no photoshop shoots, and they were looking intense. Just with the lighting and knowing their craft, they were creating images that were raw and beautiful. It reminded me of a conversation that I had just had in Nashville with another friend, Kimberlie, where we were discussing the same thing, just not in regards to my photos.
So I said "Dude, lets shoot something where I play with the lighting and we test it as a legit no photoshop shoot?"
"Dude, I'm not wearing any makeup!"
I was like "even better man! It'll be a totally raw shoot." It took a little more convincing but we went into the studio and did a shoot where the only photoshop work done was transitioning the images into b&w. I shot them just with a beauty dish/umbrella speed light. It was an amazing experience.
The response we got for those images was just mind blowing to me. For so long I had this idea in my head that people only wanted my colorful, highly edited style, and then I was able to release gritty b&w imagery that had meaning and it was incredibly liberating. That experience led me more to who I am as a photographer today. Later that year I began experimenting with film photography. I still do highly edited styles of photography, and I do enjoy that as well, but there's nothing like when I get to do a set that is just a gritty image that speaks volumes with no words at all....