I am relatively new to this game. I never shot film, never spent time
in a smelly darkroom, and never experienced the joy of holding
self-processed silver gelatin prints. My father did: in his middle
years, he had a Speed Graflex that used 4X5 film plates, primarily for
aerial photography. But, not me.
After using a couple of pocket cameras between 2000 and 2005, I made
the plunge into more serious photography with a Nikon D70s. Spending a
lot of time on the waters of Florida and the Bahamas, I accumulated a
few hundred gigabytes of beach, sunset and boating images, along with
travel documentation. However, I was not sufficiently comfortable behind
the viewfinder to photograph people. That changed in March, 2011.
A one week workshop in Street Portraiture proved to be a game changer. Professional photographer, Craig Tanner, (www.tmelive.com)
taught ten of us how to approach strangers in Savannah, and ask
permission to photograph them. To many, this genre of photography sounds
intimidating, and at first, it is. But after experiencing some success,
I find it addicting, and have now photographed over 400 strangers. I
always ask permission; there are no candid shots. I try to approach
strangers with the mindset of William Butler Yeats when he wrote, "There
are no strangers here; only friends that you haven't yet met".
Not surprisingly, my objectives in photographing people have changed
over the past 14 months. I now try to capture subtle facial gestures,
expressions that give a glimpse into the subject’s personality. To me,
the emotional baggage of color can get in the way; monochrome images
offer a more direct path into the essence of a person. This will
hopefully morph into a lifelong project – after all, there are
7,000,000,000 potential subjects!