Holly Jones used to never wear shoes. I mean never, unless she was absolutely forced to by circumstances beyond her control. She wasn’t a “dirty hippy”, mind you – always presentable – always a beautiful young lady. She just didn’t like wearing shoes. She may have been onto something. The current trend in cutting-edge shoe technology is in minimizing the amount of material we wrap around our feet. Even where athletic performance is concerned it seems, more and more, that less is more. Our feet want to breathe and connect with the earth underneath them. I never asked Holly why she didn’t wear shoes in those days because I didn’t have to. Holly has more than her share of the famous female intuition. She has human intuition. Soulful intuition. Artist’s intuition. When was the last time you stood in some cool, soft grass in your bare feet and closed your eyes for a few breaths, long enough to feel connected again? For a long time, Holly would no sooner have missed the chance to feel that simple connection than she would have missed a meal. That calling to the sensuous and the visceral, the desire to be fully engaged with the moment, informs her work to this very day. This is a crucial quality for a photographer to possess. Anyone can capture an image with a camera. Only an artist can capture a moment.
I remember Holly being pretty shy before she took up photography. She didn’t like being the center of attention and she loathed speaking in public. For these reasons, I also recall being a little skeptical at the idea of her becoming a wedding photographer and was more or less blown away the first time I saw her plying her new craft. She expertly marshaled her excited and distracted subjects. She not only seemed totally comfortable but she was laughing and having fun with this group of people she hardly knew. The reluctant young girl, the proverbial sensitive artist, had become a solid professional. In stepping behind the camera she’d found her confidence and herself. No longer did she wander around as if searching for something. She now moved with purpose.
There is much to be addressed while considering light, color, background, and all the other technical facets of a competently shot photo. Of course, wedding photos should capture all the love, joy, pomp, and pageantry of the day. Of course, some should convey the magnitude of the occasion while others relate the fun and even the silliness. These criteria are universal and should probably go without saying. Holly has been honing these skills for many years now. She takes all kinds of photos. It could be an image of a sunset from a moving car. It could be an image of her own two feet planted in the middle of the road. Sometimes they’re effortless images of everyday scenes or objects. Sometimes they involve elaborate set-ups and planning. Whatever the case, her technical prowess and artistry has always come through.
I think the other thing a great photo will convey is the artist’s empathy – their ability to connect with the subject. In these last few years, I’ve noticed something new in Holly’s wedding and baby work. If I had to boil that new development down to one word, it would be empathy. Quite simply, she has become a wife and mother in her own right. I think this has enabled her to bring her whole heart to this kind of work. For Holly, it has become just as engaging and artful as everything else she does.
I’ve always thought the mark of a true artist is the inability to leave their work alone. A bonafide artist can’t take it or leave it – they MUST do it. In that vein, she’s been proving herself a true photographer for a long time. I don’t know any artists of any stripe who bring a better work ethic to the table than Holly. Even though she may wear shoes more often these days, she’s every bit as connected to her joy for life and her desire to do great work as she ever was. She will bring that to every interaction she has with you. She would love to make that connection, and I promise you, so would you.
-Ryan P. Camp