behind the lens with ali happer
Relationship first, photos second.
That has been my motto for years. It feels impossible for me to take a true, honest photo, without knowing the subject. That doesn’t mean having to spend hours or days getting to know each other. It can sometimes just be a few seconds, a mutual respect, a quick honest conversation. But I believe that the best photos come from allowing ourselves to be truly seen.
As a human I have a unique ability to merge myself into the people around me. I can adapt myself to the energy that they have & I can channel that into my own. It’s something I’ve always been able to do, as a way to relate to people...to connect with them & to see the world from their perspective. I can separate myself from what I believe & perceive to try to understand what they are seeing or feeling. We’re all just humans trying to figure out this thing called life.
As a photographer I am able to use that part of myself to connect with a team or even a subject. I ask questions about what they want to see in the images, but most importantly what they want to feel. I deeply believe that using emotion to tell a story is the best way that we connect with artwork. When you can feel something in what you see, that is where the magic is!
Using emotions as a tool is something that can often be overlooked in photography. I can teach anyone the way to take a photo, how to change settings or use a different angle. But the key to a photo that connects, will always be creating a safe atmosphere that allows the subject to be free; to be comfortable enough to be seen. Once there is trust, space & a relaxing space, anything is possible.
When I am able to work alongside someone to bring their vision to life, I am able to create my best work. Partnership & collaboration are pillars in my process. I use the technical knowledge of my camera, along with angles & lighting to capture the essence of what a creative director is trying to portray. When I am able to use those tools, alongside of my ability to merge with feelings, emotions, actions or stories that are being told...that’s what creating art looks like to me.
Being an artist is so much more than just producing more & more art. It’s feeling & connecting with what you’re apart of. When I can use my ability to connect, alongside of someone who has a vision they want to bring to life, that’s the sweet spot. I love to use the inspiration, the story behind the images to bring the photos to life. Partnership is something that fuels me, because I believe it’s a foundational part of our humanity. When we work together, we get to be a part of something more than what we could create alone.