Well, my last post was in July, 2017. Not a very good record. But after a very trying year with personal issues, I think that I am ready to get back in the saddle.
In my last post, I said that I would work in color for a while. It turned out to be a short while. After trying several portraits both ways, my friends all feel that the black and white images are more powerful.I do too. What do you think?
I have been true to my style for several years, square crop, black and white portraits of strangers. One reason that I have posted infrequently is that I have become a bit bored with my work. I still like meeting people on the streets and attempting to capture a bit of personality with a camera, but I have become stale.
So, for a while at least I am switching to color, and not necessarily square crop. This presents some new challenges, one of which that out of focus backgrounds become more important. Color introduces a confounding factor that can compete with the subject, facial expression. I have been using an Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera which has a 2:1 crop factor compared to a full frame sensor. The ability to create background bokeh is compromised. So I have borrowed an old Canon 5D from a friend and armed it with a Canon 85mm f1.8 lens. In two days I'll take it for a spin.
In the meantime, all color images are from the Olympus.
Youth can be beautiful, but I admire maturity. Perhaps because I am a senior citizen. Mature ladies who have taken care of themselves always attract me. Not 60 year olds who try to look like 30, but senior ladies who know,and accept, who they are and make the best of their maturity. Here are a few.
Some seniors look like life has beaten them down. I am intrigued by those who have accepted and conquered the decades. You?
One of the joys of street portraiture is playfulness. Meeting people does not have to be a solemn affair. The world can be full of joy and photography can bring out some of the child in all of us. I was photographing three policemen when Marjon jumped in and photobombed a shot. She ran off into the market crowd.
A few minutes later I spotted her and asked for a portrait. Of course she obliged.
Is this not an impish look? Meeting strangers is usually fun.
I recently had to head to the city of Lakewood Ranch, FL, near Sarasota. An appointment with a title insurance officer (real exciting!) left me a few minutes for lunch at a nearby eatery. I hesitated, but then brought the camera to the restaurant.
The waiter, Jeff, took an immediate interest in my camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M5. The retro look often raises questions by passersby who conjecture that it is a film camera. It is a great ice-breaker, and often leads to a portrait. And so it was with Jeff. When indoors, I sneak the ISO to 800 and accept that light quantity should be OK, although quality is so-so.
The next stop was the title insurance office and the camera stayed with me. After business, Cathy rather reluctantly allowed a photo. Again, indoor light is what it is, not beautiful.
I was glad that I kept the camera with me.
I began street portraiture as a hobby because of my lack of guts. I am an introvert, and the last thing that I am prone to do is introduce myself to a stranger. The camera becomes a prop, a tool that helps me "break the ice". It is relatively easy to approach a stranger and ask for a favor, for help in pursuing my hobby of taking photos of strangers. For me, it has been trans-formative. After several years of this unusual hobby, I have "loosened up" considerably. The surrounding world looks more friendly.
Carl was sitting on a curb adjacent to a subway entrance in New York City. At first I walked by, but took a deep breath and turned around to meet him. Carl is a soft spoken Muslim from New Jersey. Fortunately he has experienced little anti-Muslim sentiment and is totally comfortable in the U.S.A.
I could have kept on walking by. No guts, no glory.
While visiting New Your City, a friend suggested that I visit High Line park. It's an elevated 1.43 mile walk that used to be a railway. you can read about it HERE. I saw lots of interesting characters, but the light was harsh. a covered entryway provided the perfect light and Sam and Corrine approached.
Their Australian accent was lovely. Sam and Corrine were on an extensive trip from their native Perth. New Your was the final destination, with the penultimate destination being Cuba. What a life!
Perry is an icon at the Sarasota Farmer's Market. Sitting in front of his huge barbecue/smoker, he chews on his stogie and waves to passersby. When I asked for a portrait, he was more than eager to comply. I suspect that he does this a few times every Saturday morning.
This capture exploits the beauty of a digital viewfinder, in my opinion. While looking through the viewfinder of my Olympus OM-D E-M5, I did not see the direct optical view of Perry, but the digital representation that the sensor sees. It was obvious that Perry's face was underexposed due to the bright background, I did not have to wait to chimp a captured image. Seeing the underexposed face I simply used my right index finger to adjust the exposure compensation wheel to 1+ compensation. Immediately the exposure looked correct in the viewfinder and I captured the image.
Well, almost a year and a half since I have posted. After a prolonged personal tragedy I was not sure that I would blog again. Slowly I am getting back to photographing strangers, always with permission, but with less personal interaction. my goal is to post entries 2 to 3 times per week. Thanks for being here.