(Click on images to enlarge.)
James (top), Bill (bottom)
Beautiful portraits. So sensitive. You have their trust. Is there nothing you can’t photograph wonderfully?
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Thanks so much Linda. Yes, there are several subjects I’ve tried and failed at: among them, action sports (takes infinitely more practice than I was able to give it), antique wooden furniture (gave up after 5 hours without making an exposure), fashion/beauty (not my cup of tea), studio still lifes of food (my broiled fish looked like it was encased in plastic), academic and corporate labs lit with purple and blue gels (sound familiar from your university days?), and my ex at the end of our marriage — a sure sign it was failing :)
I’m sure there are others I’ve blocked from memory :)
Meanwhile, I have an idea for doing more of these street portraits.
I didn’t expect you to answer that question, Alan. Didn’t mean to make you enumerate your difficulties. On the other hand, I feel better about my own now. I once got a nice photo of two high-school wrestlers while they were still (I mean not moving) on the mat, but that’s about it for sports. And that was only because I was on assignment. Given my noninterest in most competitive sports, I haven’t tried much else. All the rest sounds familiar, but I might add photographing birds in flight, which I would really like to do. But I also don’t photograph people and events with any relish and consequently I don’t have much success there, with one exception (https://lindagrashoff.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/amys-wedding/). In general, I’m too anxious about photographing them to put my subjects at ease. You very clearly do not have that problem. I’m glad you have an idea for doing more street portraits.
I’m sure there isn’t a photographer in the world who doesn’t have a horror story and fortunately I can laugh at all of mine. Anyone else want to join the discussion?
To start things off, very early in my career, I was photographing a bank data processing center and lighting it with hot, tungsten lights that I was bouncing off the ceiling. Someone asked if I really wanted one light so near a ceiling sprinkler. If he hadn’t pointed it out in time for me to move it away, my nascent photography career would have ended almost as soon as it began.
Not being a naturalist photographer, the only suggestion I have about photographing birds in flight is to use a motor drive and shoot like crazy. What we see in print or on the web never includes all the exposures that didn’t work. That’s also pretty critical for action sports though hardly the only thing. (Ditto for nature photography.)
And if you really wanted to photograph people, maybe you could practice with your spouse or a close friend who’s willing to be your guinea pig — er, subject — until you work through all your obstacles..
I know that I could take burst shots of birds, but I think where the burst is needed is in my head—to quickly realize that that’s what I could do when the opportunity presents itself. Ah well. The world is so full of things to photograph that I am not suffering from lack of subjects. The “if” part in your last paragraph is the important part. I may just leave it to you.
I’m with Linda: “is there nothing…?” They are perfectly done – warm, real, human. The difference in their eye expressions is interesting.
Reading on, I see there are things you find difficult, and I’m sure I’d find all of those, and more, difficult! ;-) Wish I had a good story like yours…one thing that comes to mind is the delightful fact that things – and we – are always changing. I don’t think of myself as someone who “can” photograph people, but I’ve had a few decent ones this year, and most all of them seem to be of people in the midst of work, or concentrating on something. So if I wanted to do more work with people, I know I could start there. Right now, I’m inundated with scenery which brings its own challenges. believe it or not.
With scenery, I think it takes a special eye to transcend the picture postcard views. Is that one of the challenges you face?
Well Lynn, you’re doing an excellent job of overcoming that particular hurdle.
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