Getting Real
The Cambridge dictionary defines authenticity as "the quality of being true or real" - but in a photographic sense what does that actually mean? what makes a photograph or a series authentic? Who gets to decide what is a 'true or real' image? Is an original photograph the same as an authentic photograph?

That's a lot of big questions but there's really only one answer. Authentic images come from within us - in the end we decide what is true or real for us.
It's Simple But It's Not Easy
The photo to the right is from my Borderlines series. It was made at Lake Ontario, a lake that I love. Water and family are mainstays in my life - childhood discovery inspires me. A moment of togetherness with a father and son. That's all I need to make a simple photograph that means something to me.

Authenticity can be present in journalism, fashion, fine art, documentary, advertising, or wedding genres of photography. It's not about genre or style. If we can just get out of our own way, authenticity can shine through from the simplest of subjects - simple, not easy.
Relax And Get Out Of The Way
Why are we urged to photograph what we love? Because in doing so we can get outside of ourselves. Paradoxically, this 'getting out of our own way' helps us to see and act in a genuine way. When we feel called to make an image it helps us be real and true - the definition of authenticity. People, places and things that truly move us, interest us or that we love, increase our chances of making an authentic photograph.

For instance the photo at the right includes several things dear to me - the effect of open spaces in nature on humans - how we interact with nature, the synchronicity of elements within a space, fresh air, water and recreation. I took five steps into this scene and made the photo.

Of course we can't throw technique out the window in this process - it's crucial - however, we can know our camera controls and simplify. There's nothing wrong with using Program Mode, Auto ISO or other tools if they free us up in a situation where spontaneity is paramount. Remember, the camera does not see - we do.

Alternately, we can slow down and use a methodical approach to go into a subject over time. Made from her window at home, Rita Wong's 'Stay-At-Home' series shows how a mundane scene can come alive under different weather, various lighting conditions and someone's inspired seeing of a scene - click here to check out Rita's work.
Listen To Two Photographers
Known For Their Authenticity
While working with National Geographic and beyond, Sam Abell redefined the photo essay form. In this video he is very honest and direct in how he sees things. For me, much of his work represents the essence of authenticity. To listen to him is to learn - he's a master of the aesthetic and technical aspects of photography. He is often called the'artist'of Nat. G.
Keith Carter says he looks for a "poetry of the ordinary" when making photos - an understatement in his case. His drawl presentation belies a deep understanding of making art and the creative process. He's a superb storyteller both visually and verbally.
Resources, Further Reading
And Previous Newsletters
Approaches to Creativity

Check out Lens Culture's amazing curated list of initiatives, ideas and resources. It's big and beautiful.

Read more about Self Reflection and Journaling.

Read more about the building blocks of creativity.

Read more about how limitation helps us focus and be productive.

Read more about opening the photographer's toolbox.

Ideas About Composition

Click here to read about
Framing in composition

Click here to read about
Linear Perspective.

Click here to read about
Dominant Foreground
Contributing Background.

Click here to read about
Rule of Thirds.

Click here to read about
Controlled Depth of Field.

Click here to read about
Good Ideas.
Contact Michael 
office 416 778 6521
mobile 647 286 1705