Posts Tagged ‘portrait’

11Keith Richards wanted to be in the best blues band in London. He ended up being in the best band in the world!

I want to be the best photographer in Denver with gallery and museum exhibitions of my work, to be an influential teacher and

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inspiring speaker on photography, and similarly known around the world!

Dream big, then go to work!

Set your intention. Make goals. Work to deadlines. And you can do anything!

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Being a freelance photographer has given me the opportunity to travel to states throughout the U.S. for photo shoots.

Though I’m based in Denver, I often shoot in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and now I’m adding Los Angeles, having now set up a second location to base out of in addition to my Colorado studio/office.

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Some people don’t like to travel for their work.  I know photographers who don’t like to take their gear on the road.  Not me!  I love meeting people in every state and getting to photograph in various cities.  Different places bring new photo projects, assignments and opportunities.

I’ve been bringing a VIP Portrait studio to companies for award ceremonies, events and company head shots and group shots, and a glamorous Hollywood Wedding Photo Studio to wedding couples as an alternative to the silly-style photo booth.

I couldn’t ask for more.  For the corporate clients, it’s photographs worthy of display in their offices.

For the wedding couple, the joy on their faces when they see their grandparents in a formal photo, it’s almost like something out of the early 1900s, what with the studio lights, set pieces and Victorian furniture.

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I keep running into people who see my old Leica IIIf over my shoulder and marvel that they still make film.  And that it is readily available.  I assure them it is.

I have a standard response to their “I have a great old camera that I never use.”  I tell them to just put one roll of Tri-x in it, shoot a frame once a week or so.  And that after several months, the roll will be done and there will be 36 memories to relive captured on film.

You will have forgotten what you shot.  You will know there’s something good waiting for you after the roll’s developed, and the camera will not be wasting away.  You can always shoot more, but certainly, shooting just one roll a year is still a treat.

You’ll probably need a new battery for the camera.  Many of those with electronic shutters won’t work without them.  Run out, get some new cells, power it up, and load the film.  It’ll all come back.  The feel of those old metal-bodied durable beasts will remind you why you loved them so much.  The heft in your hand will say quality, unlike what you see in many of today’s cameras.  The viewfinder will be big and bright.

It’s a treat.  And the folks I’ve mentioned it to say, “I think I’ll do that.”  I hope they do.  Bring some new life to those wonderful cameras of days of old, er, not that long ago.

How about you?  Have a sweet old camera that isn’t getting used?  How about getting it out and loading it up, just one roll of film.  You’ll be creating a time capsule.

lcpac1If you know you’re never going to shoot it again, donate the camera to a local photography school or art center.  I have one called the Lyons Photography Art Center in Colorado where you can send them.  Address is PO BOX 69, Lyons, CO 80540.  I use them to teach kids to shoot black and white film, to slow down and carefully compose images.  I give them the camera loaded and ready to shoot.  No excuses for lack of equipment.

If you do end up shooting some film, post the links here and let’s have a look!

michaelaDigital is nothing magical.  It’s perfectly good at recording, but the magic is gone compared to the days of film.

There’s something about the waiting that made film photography more special.  The time created anticipation which allowed us to forget the details of the moment, and relive it when we finally saw the film and prints.

I was just talking to someone recently about this, as I was carrying a Leica IIIf around my neck, that in the analog days, film was magical, the photographer the magician, and getting a photo meant hiring a photographer to make that image.

Untitled-26_1Nowadays, shoot it any way with any camera, even a phone, drop a few filters on the shot, and it’s good enough.  There is no magic.  The art director can fine tune the shot in camera and see the finished image before the photographer even leaves the shoot.

Even when I shoot digital, if I shoot your portrait, I will never show you the photo right there.  Because, it’s not about seeing it yet, but waiting until it’s finished.  And digital photographs need finishing.

Right now, there is film with latent images in my Leica that I don’t remember, and I will be transported back to where they were taken once the roll is finished and developed.  And I’ll have that experience all over again.

I love film for that reason.  It’s not spray and pray.  It’s not ones and zeroes buried on a card, a phone, a hard-drive.  It’s a photograph.  Time captured in silver.  Light burnt from that unique moment onto that actual piece of film.

You realize that film was present at the event.  That frame saw your Grandpa in that long-lost roll of film, with the latent image still intact, awaiting processing all these years.

The magic is gone with digital.  The photographers lost out.  And we all did when “good enough” with a few filters replaced the masterful technique of recording light.

She was sitting alone on the park bench.  I saw her immediately, sitting alone, looking very content.  Two people came up to me to ask me about the Hasselblad 500c/m I was carrying.  I enjoyed talking to them, but was keeping an eye out on her.  When they finally said goodbye, I turned to see her still sitting there, in a column of shade on an otherwise unseasonably warm, sunny autumn afternoon.

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I sat down and asked her if I could take her photo.  She said yes, or course.  I love that answer.

A few years ago, I was visiting a good friend and his Father was over visiting.  I asked him if I could take his photo.  He said, “Yes, I think it’s an honor to have someone want to take my picture.”

It was the same for her.  She asked me where I would put the photo, and I told her about this new photo project I was working on, called TheWisePhotoProject.com.  I told her I’d put her on there.  She seemed flattered.  I set up the shot and took two frames with the old Hassy.

Her daughter came over and saw me.  I offered to take a photo of them together.  And I did.  Here it is.

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I came home that day and thought that was about as good a day as I can think of, one where I got to document this sweet older face, and then get her connecting to her daughter.  This is about the most important work I do.  Documenting real people in real places.  Capturing them without knowing how I would be touching their lives.  The spontaneity of it all.

It was truly a good day.  When I see these photos, they make me smile.

She asked me a few times where I would put the photo, and each time I answered that I’d put it on my site for The Wise Photo Project.  I don’t know if she had a bit of dementia, but in any case, I got the opportunity to make her smile, make her connect with her daughter and create photographs that will last for generations.

I want to print them large, like 20×20 and frame and mat them for them.  The magic is in the print.  That is where the photograph lives, and lasts, forever.

bolex2This is what I saw one day walking on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, and I had to get a photo of her.  And the camera operator, too!

Carrying my Rolleiflex, I asked if I could take her portrait.  She immediately recognized the coolness of my picture machine, and said yes.

That’s a vintage Bolex 16mm film camera, probably a Rex4, she’s shooting.

It looks to me like it could be a still from 1968.

I have another love for motion picture film, too.  I shoot Super 8 and 16mm.  A similar unique look to those images!

Cameras reunited, and it feels so good!

couple1Carrying a Rolleiflex around, people come up to you to talk about it.  And you can approach people with the line, “Can I take your photo, I have this old camera I’m shooting,” which is the 100% complete truth, and people will let you.  It’s a great ice breaker.  That’s how the image at right was made.

I had just left a screening at the Boulder Theater of Finding Vivian Maier, a wonderful documentary of a woman/nanny/photographer who shot thousands of rolls of film, and whose work was only discovered after she had passed on.  Vivian shot with a Rolleiflex, so naturally, after the show, I brought out mine to show folks, and shot these two sitting on the Pearl Street Mall.

8-31-2014 12-52-17 PMI think because it’s a piece of art that you’re working with–the Rolleiflex is such a unique design, and a beautiful piece of gear–it draws attention.  And conversation.

It has another quality, it can make you business.  I shoot Senior Portraits in Colorado, and the woman I bought the camera from called me a year later and asked me to shoot her son’s senior portraits, including some with the Rolleiflex.  And we did just that.

This last photo was shot with the Rolleiflex just last week at the senior portrait shoot.  It’s a joy to be able to use these cameras both for personal and professional work.

Senior PortraitThere’s something about a square image that really works for me.  Maybe because it’s a little different than what most people are creating.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in the era of record covers.

In any case, the Rolleiflex, if you haven’t tried one, find one and give it a shoot.  You’ll find it’s very comfortable to work with, fits well in the hands and isn’t too heavy like many of the 6×6 SLRs, like Bronicas and RB67s are.

Yet it feels solid, like it’s quality engineering you’re shooting with.  Just like a Leica feels, if you’re familiar with them.

And one conversation leads to a portrait, and then another conversation, and another portrait, and on.