Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Girl With The Red-Striped Hair ~

Sometimes, maybe when the planets line up just right, I get the chance to shoot a portrait session with no agenda in mind. Not a business portrait, not a magazine shoot, not a modeling portfolio; just an "anything goes" hour or two. Such was the case last week with my dear friend and favorite model Tiana.

Actually, Tiana wanted me to get some shots of her while she had this fantastic red coloring in her hair, and I was more than happy to oblige. I'm drawn to distinctive looks like this and the challenge to capture the essence of the person in front of the camera without resorting to kitsch or formula.

More than any other kind of photography, I enjoy making portraits, especially in the studio. What I like in particular is the interaction with the sitter, and when I teach my lighting and posing workshops I like to stress the intimate quality of a really successful portrait.

A portrait, then, is something more than just a picture of a person. The photographer and the viewer invest a part of themselves in the image; when this is successfully done, the portrait becomes a work of fine art that can stand on its own, and will be a powerful and moving image. Think of some of the finest portraits of Halsman or Karsh, or contemporaries like Mary Ellen Mark or Steve McCurry.
That's the goal I strive for every time I'm in the studio; someday I may actually achieve it, but in the meantime I truly enjoy the journey forward. It's not about being, it's about doing.

I hope you may start seeing portraits as a truly artistic form of personal expression, and make some again. And share! Nothing I'd love more than to see some here.

Right here:      

Get busy.

Later amigos!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

another day on the job ~

This is one of those rare but happy occasions when my core training business, teaching digital imaging in dental clinics and labs, intersects with my studio photography interests. I was invited to make portraits for the Clark County (Washington) Dental Association to use on their Members website. I've worked with dental professionals all around the country for several years now, and alway have fun with projects like this.

The set-up is pretty straight forward, and one that I sometimes set up for clinics to use for their own client portraits, something pretty common with the higher-end family and cosmetic practices. Good clinical intra-oral photos are a standard in any practice, but a really well made portrait that shows the beautiful results of cosmetic or restorative dentistry really sets a successful practice apart from others. There's real artistry in both endeavors.

Making a good head-and-shoulders portrait for business & web is a common project, but one that still needs your creative chops. When I teach studio lighting, I try to convey that it's an important fundamental, and the starting point from which to let your imagination take off.
Isn't that what it's all about?

I love people pictures! Send me some of yours to post?
You know where:
Later amigos!