“Learning how to use a camera is one thing but knowing when to take the picture, coaxing your subject to deliver a specific performance, understanding the nuances of light and manipulating it deliberately, setting out to accomplish and knowing when you’ve got it – even when others hate it…”
– Nigel Barker (source)
I had a few moments to chat with Nigel Barker, father of two, while he was in New York’s Time Square for the Walgreens Photo “Wonderland,” about beauty and taking the best photograph.
Read the “Pinkalicious”-narrative below:-
It was a typical crispy New York morning and Nigel Barker, famed photographer and America’s Next Top Model judge could be seen snapping away photographs for fans on Military Island in Times Square.
Clad in dark-washed denim pants, a deep green jacket and fashionably accessorized in a scarf, Barker, born in London of English and Sri Lankan decent, was a sight to behold.
If the phrase, “tall, dark and handsome,” needed an image to accompany it, that photo would probably resemble Barker.
He has a son named Jack and his daughter’s name is Jasmine.
“Just like the Princess,” I said.
“Yes,” he smiled gleefully.
A daddy’s-princess, who much like myself, loves all things pink.
Jasmine celebrated her birthday this year in a very “Pinkalicious” fashion, which sounded quite familiar to me.
I asked him about the art of photography — how do you make someone have the ‘perfect pose?’ Does such a thing even exist?
“You don’t,” he told me. “People don’t like being told what to do. So you leave them alone.”
“Then how do you get what you’re looking for?” I asked.
“I chat with them. I make them feel comfortable. For example, I’d ask them, “what are you thinking?”” he said.
It’s the ability to make natural beauty shine through, he went on.
Barker explained that candid photos are the best.
Curious, I followed-up by inquiring if he thought everyone was photogenic or just some people.
“Everyone has the ability to take good photos,” he said. “But, do I think some are better at it than others? Yes.”
Barker elaborated by saying that, “Not everyone thinks they can be beautiful.”
It’s a fault with society and within ourselves, he mentioned on the side.
“But [taking a good photograph] is about how you feel. If you feel beautiful, it projects through. Photographing that projection is the essence of true beauty.”
Slightly stunned, I said, “That was a really good answer, a really good answer.”
He nodded and smiled.
Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, or then again, maybe I should have.
But rarely does an answer to any question that I ask, stump or captivate me.
Then again, what about Nigel Barker isn’t captivating?
He produces documentaries bringing to light the challenges of living in a third world nation, runs his own studio and is a champion for the life of defenseless creatures without a voice of their own.
“We have the power to make this a better world.
As humans, we have the ability to be humane; it’s our choice.”
– Nigel Barker, A Sealed Fate?
In his book, The Beauty Equation, Barker talks about just that: being a good ‘self,’ what it means to be ‘beautiful’ and simply the joy of living life.
Beauty isn’t about makeup or things.
“[Beauty is] the good, it’s what’s on the inside,” Barker said. “That’s a good photograph — that [projection is] what is beautiful.”
I also asked Barker to give Pink Blog readers a few tips for taking family photographs this holiday season and his suggestions are below:-
- Turn your flash off.
- Take lots of photos — the best ones are the candid ones.
- Don’t put a camera ‘up’ into someone’s face. Rather, zoom in from a distance.
- Look for the quiet and fun moments.
- “Golden lighting” aka the afternoon between 3-4 p.m. is ideal for outdoor photographs.
- Afternoons are also the best for people to be photographed because they aren’t tired or sleepy.
- If you’re outdoors, find a shady spot to shoot from.
Thank you, Nigel.
It was a pleasure to meet you!
I really enjoyed out chat 🙂
Sasha H. Muradali runs the Little Pink Blog (formerly Little Pink Book PR). She holds a B.S. Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (â€™07) and an M.A. International Administration with a concentration in Communication from the University of Miami (â€™08). She loves Twitter (@SashaHalima), Harry Potter and the colour pink. Get a copy of the Little Pink Blog delivered to your Kindle and find us on Facebook.
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