The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Meg is 18

On Sunday, our little Valentine's baby turned 18. Despite all our fears when, during her first year we faced the very real prospect we might lose her - twice - somehow we appear to have guided Meg to adulthood.

How on earth can she be 18? She's still 8, I'm sure of it. But then I suspect this is a feeling shared by Dads the world over when it comes to their daughters.

I decided to take a photo of her at the weekend. My idea was of Meg with a single rose - a contemplative image - low key, edge lighting. I put up a black backdrop, moved a single speedlite around until I had the angle I wanted and fired off some shots.

I was quite pleased with the result - it wasn't a million miles away from what I'd set out to get.

However, when I showed it to Maggie she said it didn't reflect how she sees her. When she thinks of Meg, it is the laughter, fun and general joie de vivre that springs to mind.

So I pulled down the black background, put up a white one and introduced more lighting.

2 very different photos - different styles, different moods, different Megs.

I put them up on Facebook and asked which one people preferred. Most, as expected, said "both", or dodged the question. However of those who did express a preference I found that, for the most part, the photographers tended to prefer the darker one while the non-photographers were more drawn to the lighter.

"The camera never lies" is one of the most well known sayings about photography, yet is patently false. Which of these photos is truer?

Either, neither, both?

Photography is less truth-telling and more storytelling - the angle taken, the lighting arranged, the expression coaxed, the crop, and the editing, are all manipulated to create a particular look or mood, which reflects the intention of the photographer.

And then the viewers bring their own desires, fears and curiosities to their interpretation and preferences.

So which do you prefer, and why? Or do you prefer not to say...


Sayre said...

I can't believe Meg is 18 already! I have always loved ALL of your pictures of her - she is a most striking model, a real person of beauty. Having said that, acknowledging a prior knowledge and love of all pictures Meg - I love the darker one. Maybe because it's so different from your usual portrayal of her. She always seems so relaxed and carefree and this darker photograph seems to point out a new maturity, a consideration of future life beyond the rose, beyond mummy and daddy. I've seen her mature through pictures, but this seems like a cumulative photo - Meg has ARRIVED.

Joanna Smith said...

I love the lighting and contemplative nature of the dark shot, it has real elegance and depth and shows Meg literally in a different light, contemplating a new maturity. The lighter shot is also lovely and as Maggie says, reflects the carefree nature of Meg. It is hard to choose a favourite as both are lovely for different reasons but I think I would go with the first one because of the beautiful simplicity of it.

hope said...

That makes three of us. There is a level of maturity to the first one. I don't think of it as "dark", I see it as Meg's grown up. (When did THAT happen?!)

While I always think of Meg with a smile, I like the mystery of the first one...what IS she thinking about? :)

Nicolás Marino said...

Happy Birthday Meg :)

I adore both photos, both reflecting totally different moods so I'm not really sure they can even be compared. What do I prefer, mangos or apples? well....both, really, the both provide me with different tasteful emotions in at different times. What do I like better, Cradle of Filth or Lady Gaga? ....both, really hahaha!

That's what's beautiful about photography, it just allows us to convey any feeling we want at any time. I vote for both :)

and, photography aside, she looks wonderful :)

Anonymous said...

i like both photographs..very different from each other! however i must come down on the side of the b/w. to me, it portrays meg as a young girl on the verge of womanhood, thus looking into her future, in hope, and with poignancy. beautiful girl, beautiful photographs. ann mcgee.

Sini said...

Happy Birthday Meg..

Firefly said...

Artistic me chooses the dark one.
Mama me loves the laughter one. I don't know you outside of your blog, but based on what and how you write about Meg, that just seems more HER.
Happy birthday!

Kim Ayres said...

Sayre, Joanna, Hope, Nico, Ann, Sini and Firefly - many thanks for taking the time to comment :)

Theanne Crossett said...

I believe the darker one is more artistic while the lighter one reflects more of who Meg is. I like both but prefer the darker one, I'm just a "noir" kind of person. I can't believe Meg is already 18, so time really does fly when you're having fun, Happy Birthday to you Meg. :)

Ponita in Real Life said...

I do actually like them both. The dark is more "arty" with lovely composition and shows an introspective Meg, while the white does show the lighter side of her. I'd love to see one in colour also, out in the wilds somewhere, or a forest, or with animals, with vibrant colours and contrast. Your Meg is a lovely soul and what I have seen of what you've posted here of her, a complex one with the kindest heart. She is a gorgeous young woman! Wishing her a (belated) Happy Birthday.

maurcheen said...

Happy Birthday Meg. 😀

Kim Ayres said...

Theanne, Ponita and Maurcheen - many thanks :)

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