Shoot from the heart: lessons learned from Funny Pains

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“Shoot from the heart” is the title of an 80’s song by Judie Tzuke, and it’s also one of the most challenging things to do as a visual storyteller. One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve been given is to shoot what I love, but I often find that’s just not enough, and sometimes it’s not even a financially viable option. Instead, I’ve chosen to strive to shoot from the heart.

This can certainly mean different things to different people, to some it can be to channel their love and passion for a subject when shooting and inject their style and point of view into the final image, but to me, it’s something different. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way I can truly achieve my goal of shooting from the heart is by getting out of the way of the story I’m trying to tell.

Comedian Wendi Starling looking really happy about taking care of the crew.

Nowadays when I approach a project I do my best to get rid of preconceived notions and formulaic ideas of what “looks good” and instead I try to just listen to the story. I no longer try to conform the project to what it should be, but instead, I allow it to become what it could be, what it really wants to be.

Funny Pains taught me that I owe it to the story that I’ve chosen to tell to approach it with an open mind and a humble heart and to use everything I’ve learned over the years to help it reach new heights, to help it reveal itself. I still have a lot to learn, and I’m looking forward to a time in which every time I pick up my camera I don’t have to think about any of this, that shooting from the heart becomes just shooting, as simple as that.