South African-born Talitha Kauffman’s favorite quote by Theodore Geisel, “You will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory,” allies with her breathtaking, evocative photography.
Her “painterly” fine art photographs are unique in her approach to children, pets, and scenery. She explained, “The essence of my photography is capturing fleeting instants to create tangible memories. I turn those moments into lasting connections, making each image a window to the past.” Her photos are usually vintage style and often center around designer couture dresses or custom dresses that she handcrafted along with her mother, artist Robyn Michalow.
Immigrating to the U.S. at age 6, Kauffman’s photography education began in a darkroom at Woodward Academy and continued through Emory University.
As a motivation, she stated, “My interest was sparked by my desire to capture the youth and innocence of my children, Jaffa and Shiloh. I wanted them to have the best possible photos to remember their childhood. I started out more traditionally, but my ultimate goal was always to perfect my own unique style. My favorite subjects to photograph are children. I love to use photos to tell stories about their unique personalities and capture their youth and innocence.”
Kauffman also incorporates pets into child portraits to capture the unique bond they have with each other.
Admirers viewing Kauffman’s work experience an innocence, nature, emotion, and the story behind the story. She uses Canon and Sony mirrorless cameras with her favorite 200mm lens.
Since Kauffman’s goal is to create pieces for families to cherish long-term as heirloom art, she asks families to bring unique pieces that represent family details and memories.
She said, “It’s about creating a work of art that will be printed and cherished for generations to come. These photo shoots involve a lot of planning, design elements like backdrops and antique props, and time spent editing in Photoshop.”
She recently photographed a child who loved chess and had just won a tournament; thus, she created a special portrait of her playing with an antique chess set. Child and family portraits can take one to two hours. Newborn sessions normally last about three to four hours.
The session fee is $450, which reserves the session and covers the time and “client closet.” Clients then choose photos for editing and place an order for custom prints and wall art. The pricing varies for each product. The digitals are included with their print purchases.
Kauffman is known for using the finest labs, mostly abroad. After looking through products from more than 40 professional photo labs, Kauffman chose to work primarily with one based in Italy because of the museum quality of their prints and wall art, their variety and high-quality consistency. In Atlanta, some favorite shoot locales are the Chattahoochee River, the Goat Farm, and in her own custom-built studio. She typically spends two hours Photoshopping each image. For composite images that have multiple components pieced together, like the octopus or fairytale/mermaid images, she spends six to eight hours editing.
To spark creativity, she encourages clients to come up with ideas and to choose elements that speak to them from her own client closet and prop room. She also mixes and matches photoshopping, compositing by taking different elements like a face from one image, a hand, or a prop from another, to create the perfect image.
Regarding the future, Kauffman mused, “I hope to continue to evolve my unique style, work closely with my mother to create costumes and dresses to expand my client closet, and create art that resonates with people.”
Much has been touted about high profile photographers putting their subjects at ease. Hollywood’s Herb Ritts gave Jack Nicholson a magnifying glass. Philippe Halsman, who shot Albert Einstein’s most famous photo, said, “It can’t be done by pushing a person into position…it must provoke the victim [subject], amusing him with jokes, lulling him into silence or asking impertinent questions.”
Kauffman’s bottom line…“Making a client feel comfortable and involved in the planning always helps. I try to make it a fun!”
Contact Kauffman at (404) 313-1606 or talithakauffmanphotography.com.