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Old Dog, New Tricks. March 7, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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That would be me, trying to figure out how to do portraiture.

I’ve been wanting to photograph people for a while, but finding it hard to get started.  First off, it’s awkward asking.  I just imagine someone being embarrassed that I asked, or suspicious of my motives (which could get me called a Perv in public, or maybe punched in the face.)

And besides, my desire is to do very personal artsy-fartsy photographs, which have the potential to be either brutally honest or fawningly flattering, both of which have relationship altering potential, and so ought to be undertaken only advisedly.

And since I don’t really have experience with photographing bodies, there’s a significant learning curve revolving around lenses, lighting and location (your place or mine?)

Yeah, it’s complicated.  I don’t want to take pictures of anyone who’s going to hate me for it in the morning.

Which pretty much leaves me. I mean, I can’t run away, I know what I want and I’m invested enough in the outcome to be patient with myself.  And I’m not into self-loathing (self-doubt, yes, self-loathing, no,) so I’ll probably forgive myself tomorrow.

Probably.  This time I kept my pants on.  In the future I might have to get serious.

I know, I know, enough disclaimers – put up or shut up!

So here we go:

I haven’t yet figured out how to size and position multiple photos in  a line on the blog page; if you know how to do that, feel free to clue me.

These shots are studies in perspective (via Elliot) and lighting.  I got pretty much what I wanted for perspectives, this being my first attempt at such; lighting proved to be more problematic, and will take more work (and equipment; I’ve only got a couple of flashlights and a drop light or two.)

Anyway, it’s a start.  A couple of hours work to get half a dozen shots worth working with.  Not keepers,  mind you, but working material.

If I can get my system down and reign the time in, I’ll have to suck it up and ask people to sit (or whatever) for me.




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Comments»

1. lisahgolden - March 7, 2011

I think they’re a good start, Mr. Zero Body Fat.

2. littlebangtheory - March 7, 2011

Lisa, the gym-thingie says I’m at 17%, but I’m a little bit skeptical. I’m around 120lbs now (hence the “Runt” part,) and if I have to lose another 10% to get down to 6/7% (my target) I’ll look like an X-ray of a Dachau survivor!

At any rate, I wanted to post small photos ’cause it wasn’t about me (and I’m kinda gnarly up close,) but rather about picture style and working with the tilt-shift lens.

3. Steve - March 9, 2011

CR, regardless of size, you are one buff dude for your age – or for any age, for that matter. Nice shots – a good start, I thihnk. Gnarly (a la your comment to Lisa) might be artistic, btw.

I have the same issue you do about portraits. If I do one of someone else, will they still be on speaking terms with me later? They may not like my interpretation – what I “see.” In my case it’s a painting, but the concept is the same. So I do self portraits for all the reasons you mention. But there is another option – anonymous (or nearly anonymous – first names only) models in life drawing classes/sessions. I wonder if such a resource or opportunity exists for your attempts, as well? Contact the local art centers and schools to find out if models are willing to work on photo shoots as they do for drawing/painting? It’s not as anonymous, and so they might be less willing to work for a photographer – but some might be quite open and free about this, and particularly if they get to see the proofs or shots after, and have some right of veto about images… Might be worth a try. The models at our local center not only pose for the group sessions, but are also hired by individual artists at the same rates, I believe. It’s an hourly fee.

4. susan - March 9, 2011

I haven’t lived in a fashion conscious city for a long time but I do have a favorite street people photographer – the Sartorialist. Although he does a lot of fashion show photography his main interest seems to be in finding beautifully dressed people, or interesting looking people and asking if he can photograph them. Obviously, most say yes and I think you’re personable enough that many would be flattered you’d ask them to pose. It’s worth trying. Perhaps another trip to Boston is in order?

The self photographs are a very good beginning and you do look well 🙂

5. littlebangtheory - March 10, 2011

Susan, “high fashion” is antithetical to my aesthetic sensibilities (I’m more the “torn jeans” type.) Interesting link, though.

My own leanings in urban photography would lean much more toward street people, trying to say something about the sad state of our Great Society.

I know that sounds pretentious, but if I’m going to trouble someone for their time, I’d like it to be for a purpose other than my own amusement.

Steve, the idea of hiring models hadn’t occurred to me, so thanks for that. Step One has to be getting my lighting system down, though, as I’d hate to pay someone to stand around while I reinvent my own personal wheel!


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