Portraits and Lines as usual


The past few posts have been very angsty, soul-searchy and i think that’s enough of that. This batch is less thematically tied than my previous posts, as far as subject matter is concerned, but they are all tied together insofar as they’re my favorite photos from the past couple weeks. As I may or may not have mentioned before, it’s not really my thing to tell the viewer what to think or what i meant by my photograph. If the photo doesn’t speak for itself, it’s not a very good photo. This is one of the reasons I think that the ‘Sad Last Days’ is bad. So, unless something happens, I will probably talk about lines and composition and let you feel whatever you want to feel when you look at my work.

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First things first: Thanksgiving happened. My wife, Abby, and I had a little soiree at our house – our first married thanksgiving, or ‘friendsgiving’. Having spent most of that evening eating, I got few photos, but a few of them were certainly keepers. This photo of the gentleman here is a favorite of mine. I like the layering created by the shallow depth of field. His eyes are sharp, but the rest of him is gently out of focus. He fills the frame nicely and his right arm extends into the left corner, creating a nice sense of movement. His body is turned toward the camera, matching his dominant eye, creating a very Vermeer feel to the image. And, lastly, I like it because it’s shot on his level. It’s not a ‘oh look at that little guy running around down below’ shot; it shows him as the subject, on the level with the viewer, as an equal.

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Fiendsgiving was followed by the thanksgiving weekend, for which we went to Salt Lake City to go bouldering. Again, I took few pictures. It’s funny, but not unexpected: the longer I own my camera, the less often i want to take it out and take pictures. Not when I’m walking around, but when I’m doing something, I don’t want to pull out my camera. I don’t want to drag all my gear around and whip it out at every climb. I remember a year or so ago, when I was first starting to get into photography and acquire gear i didn’t really know how to use, I was talking to Dirk, who at the time was in the middle of his 365. He had on him his beast of a camera and only one lens, 85mm i think, and I remember thinking that it’s so limiting to only have a single focal length to work with all day, or all week. But as time went on, I’m less and less likely to haul around all of my gear. Partially because I like the challenge of having a single lens and seeing what i can do with it, but also because I have accumulated a substantial amount of gear, which gets pretty heavy. But, anyway, let’s take a look at what we have.

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I really like this photo, because of its linearity. The whole image swoops left to right and up. Abby’s right leg leads the eye right and up to her torso, which is closely mirrored by the tree on the right and boulder behind her. It reminds me a little of a Steve McCurry image.

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This one is fun because it has the same linearity of the previous image, but it also has the softness of the leaves through which i shot the photo. They give it a very gentle suggestion of a frame and offset the sharp lines of the rock

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The last of the Mohecans

Finally, my 365 project has come to an end. These are 2 of my best photos from the last week. I thought I had more time and was planning on doing something big over the weekend as a sort of ‘here’s a photo with all the things i’ve learned over the last year of shooting every day’, but instead the gentleman opening the door is my last 365 shot. It’s not bad; it’s really not. It’s a ‘design exercise’. It’s like the B&H lecturers were saying, for street it’s about finding a place to stand (Ansel Adams also) and camping out until the right shot happens.

Well, here we are then. It’s over. No more late night idea scrambling, no more stressing out about whether I miss a day of shooting. What’s next? I don’t know. I don’t think i’m going to do a second 365, but there’s a good chance I’ll do something similar. Maybe the 52 project, where I only have to have a keeper once a week. Maybe not. What do YOU think? Let me know in the newly added comments below!