Making a Series of Film Portraits on Your Terms

Made on black and white 4×5 film, this is the lead photograph from the shoot.

I have a friend Clark whose Father collects classic cars and used to work for Kodak. I had never met his Dad, but told Clark that he sounds like someone I need to photograph. And so I did.

I brought the 4×5 Wista DX plus the Rolleiflex loaded with Ilford HP5. We said hello and then I got to work. He was mine to place and direct–it was my shoot. No one had hired me to make these.

I think it’s one of the best ways to work, where you’re not being paid by the subject of the photograph. That’s the way it is when you have an editorial photo assignment like for a newspaper or magazine. It’s the most creative type of assignment for a photographer.

I do work on commissioned portraits, but some I just have to make when I hear of an opportunity that will make great photographs, and I’m not going to wait to get booked to make it.

Here are some of the photos, including one with Clark in the car’s backseat.

As a creative, there are some photograph I simply have to make, to create so they’ll exist. To place in the family. To add to the home galleries around the world I have work displayed in. These photographs are some of those.

This is what I do. I’m a photographer. What do you like to do?

12 thoughts on “Making a Series of Film Portraits on Your Terms

Add yours

  1. These are GREAT!!! I especially like the first one with the car!!! I also really like the one with him leaning on the door of the car!!!

    What do I like, I like to photograph and draw … I do it every day, in spite of having a full time job!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love every one of these. They tell a story. They chronicle an important aspect of the subject.
    What do I like? I like to photograph, especially nature and animals. I also love learning to play piano, even at my age.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ken, I found your website via Jim Grey’s “Film photography blogs you should follow” blog post.

    These portraits are excellent. My favourites are the subject hanging on the car door and the subject looking back at the photographer from the front seat. You’ve used Ilford HP5 Plus well here.


    Liked by 1 person

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