As someone who takes photography seriously I spend a lot of time looking at the surfaces of people and things. It appears that these surfaces are my primary concern. Is the light right? Is the texture right? Is the person sitting up straight? But that's not true. My focus is not in how a thing looks but how it feels.
So much of portrait photography, as I see it, is done by feel. Light is important and so is the person staring back at me but there's a subtle quality of feel that's always going on. What is the feeling that wants to manifest and can I affect it?
This is a strange art form, as mysterious to me as fiction writing, but I find that if I lean into it the result is always true.
Who we are, the essence of who we are, lies so much deeper than the surface. Yet something at the surface does convey it. This is not a riddle to be solved just an observation. After doing hundreds of portraits I have learned, or at at least perceived, that there is something of all of us in every face. I a...
Sometimes it takes a minute. Sometimes an hour or more. But that connection, that authentic bridge between two human beings always does occur when I set my intention on it. When a person opens up to being seen, and known, the result is always a photograph engenders connection.
Not every person has this in mind. Not every person thinks about it in this way. Most don't. So I sort of have to trick them into it. I have to disarm them. And I do that by being vulnerable myself. I turn over on my back and show them my belly, so to speak. I do everything I can to let them know I'm not a threat.
And then I disclose. I'll talk about my life. I'll talk about how camera shy I am (because I am). Basically I have a normal conversation and over time we learn about each other. Where we grew up. Where we went to school. What we believe in.
A meaningful conversation, in my opinion, is one in which two people open up their hearts. So when I say I shoot wide open I don't mean just my aperture. Yes, I shoot a...