June 11, 2008 | By Jim Doherty | Creative

If you’re like me, you are trying to figure out what it means to be “authentic.” A big push in advertising these days is to de-construct the beautiful and premeditated and make a picture that feels like a snapshot.

What makes something authentic? What makes something look fake? As the saying goes, truth is often stranger than fiction. If we tried to produce and art direct shoots with pictures like the one below, we’d be hard pressed to pull them off. They just wouldn’t look believable. So what are those intangible qualities that make this type of picture so compelling?


Photo by Clayton Hauck

Is it that the characters are comfortable in front of the camera? Is it because the characters aren’t models? Perhaps it is because they are completely unaware that the camera is even there.


Photo by Clayton Hauck

Or the opposite – they are so adjusted to documenting every moment of their lives, and being documented by friends and strangers alike – on surveillance cameras and camera phones – that they are always either performing or have ceased to perform all together. We are each other’s audience and the all the world is a stage.


Photo by Clayton Hauck

Or maybe it is the feeling of the unplanned and the miracle of spontaneity – some styling comes with NO styling at all.


Photo by Clayton Hauck

Some locations only become interesting environments in extreme weather, which could never be planned.


Photo by Clayton Hauck

Perhaps what sums it up best is the spirit of the late famed public television painter Bob Ross, “There are now mistakes, only happy accidents.”


Photo by Clayton Hauck

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