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  • Hector Heathwood

"The camera photographs the mind."

A couple of evenings ago I was watching an interview with the great movie actor Dirk Bogarde. In it he said something that struck me so profoundly,

"The camera photographs the mind."

He was answering a question about 'screen appeal', but this simple statement is so very important. Almost like, "The eyes are the window to the soul."

Many years ago my second wife, Karen, modelled for me quite a lot. We worked well together, and created many fine images through our collaboration. There was one issue though.

Whenever I'd attempt to photograph her for her actor's shot I could never get it right.

In the end she explained to me that in our other images she adopted a character during the shoots. For the shot of who she was we were failing to depict her person!

I learned a lot from this experience, how the eyes are so important in any picture. And will speak volumes about who the sitter actually is.

It's gone a long way to informing the way I work. I've often spoken about the three-way relationship I find, between sitter, camera and me. There's a time when it's right for me to release the shutter, and I watch for it like a hawk. At that moment the tiniest of changes to the expression can reveal so much about who this person is, their identity, and what's on their mind.x

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