Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Experience Facing the Lens

    As a photographer, I don’t often have (or want to have) the chance the stand on the other side of the lens. But, a couple weeks ago I met with Deborah McGrane, owner of Facing the Lens photography, and got to see how the other side lives as I modeled for her.
    Newly a resident of the River Arts District community, Deborah moved to Asheville to give her dream of becoming a full-time photographer a go. Here, she has begun to expand her wedding photography business as well as her macro photography art.
    But, Deborah is not just any normal person with a camera. Her vibrant nature and ability to make her subjects comfortable by making them laugh allows her to create expressive portraits that actually show the personalities and emotions of those she photographs. While I was modeling for her, Deborah kept up a continuous conversation about cats (a shared love) and life so that rather than stiffly sitting for a portrait, I could smile and laugh. This allowed my photographer to capture some great expressions – like a mischievous grin when telling the story of feeding my cat at the Thanksgiving dinner table or a blushing smile when discussing how I met my boyfriend.
    We also talked about photography in detail. Our styles are similar; we both try to catch the little moments filled with pure emotion to create a narrative. This holds especially true in wedding photography. Deborah says that she embraces the cheesy happiness of weddings so that when the couple looks back on their photos they remember exactly how they felt when they watched their spouse walk down the aisle.
    The owner of Facing the Lens also focuses on less emotive subjects: flowers. While her portraiture explores emotions to create a story, her solitary art of macro photography explores the raw physical beauty of nature. When I first met Deborah at her studio, I had a hard time focusing on the interview I was conducting because I could not take my eyes off of the canvas-lined walls. These photos expose intricate geometric patterns within the flowers she had chosen that could not be seen by the naked eye, but my favorite part about them was the saturated colors of the pieces that brought the room to life. 

    Deborah works in the Riverview Station studio in the River Arts District. 

    Deborah and I both agree that working with another person as passionate about our art as we are can be an incredible learning experience, and this held true in our partnership. Being in front of the camera as a model rather than behind the lens taught me more about positioning subjects in an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable way in one afternoon than hours of photographing could have. And I was able to capture a few shots of Deborah’s hilarious impishness so that she could have some personality shots of her own. 

 "Please, tell me more about myself!" 

    Deborah also helped me understand my passion for photography. As she said, “I don’t have a really deep reason for why I got into photography, but I’m good at it and want to share it with people. It makes people happy and it makes me happy.”

It's always fun to find a fellow cat-lady-artist. Meet Mr. Bingley, the cat. 

Check out Deborah's photography at