The Photographic Journal

No Direction

Essay 362 • Dec 31st 2018

The goal was to challenge the idea of the Male Gaze. Curiously, I found that, as I shot, I began to examine my own techniques, my own instincts. I started putting my own preferences up to the light, giving them a good hard look.

What causes me to take a picture at a particular moment? What am I looking for in my subject’s face? Why am I looking for certain reactions over others?

At the start, I'd decided to abstain from telling my subjects what to do. No telling them how to pose, or when to hold still, what adjustments to make. I asked them to come to the shoot however they wanted, to come as if I (and by extension, the camera) were not looking at them.

As I put the series together, more questions. Why am I drawn to a particular image? I edited the series initially showing joy in all the subjects...but was that more about who they were, or what I wanted to show? Was I being truthful to what my subjects were actually giving me?

As always, my goal is to show something essential in the people I photograph. But with this series I took that even further by getting out of the damn way.


Lou Noble was born, lives, and will one day die in Los Angeles. He is the Editor-In-Chief of The Photographic Journal.

Subjects (in order of appearance):
Cheyanne DeBarge
Julya Baer
Chloe Howcroft
Karissa Rossi
Sarah Yarkin
Hallie Curtis
AJ Zadora
Bre’Jon Patrick
Selena Rox
Joanna Smith
Charlie Buhler
Kat Ginsburg
Kristen Orr
Anushka Tyagi
Danielle Beauvoir