Sunday, October 27, 2013

Young and Talented Musician Samantha Pearl

I just had the privilege of meeting and photographing a young talented musician, Samantha Pearl. We worked on developing images for her new release coming soon. Samantha arrived fresh from playing the Foundation Room at the House of Blues and is know for her vocal styling and earthy guitar sound. — with Samantha Pearl at L.A. Metro Studios.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Last Sunday's Creative Concepts and Processes Workshop

Well this past weekend's fine art portrait workshop, “The Creative Process from Concept to Completion”, held at my Downtown Los Angeles studio, was a fun and challenging experience. It was presented for our local chapter of PPA, Professional Photographer of Los Angeles County. Nothing ever goes the way you plan and this Sunday’s workshop was no exception. I had a day planed that included working on developing the creative process for the morning session and then a fine art portrait demonstration for the afternoon breakout.

Well when I began the demo one of the attendees, that had agreed to be photographed, threw me a curve. I had previously workout this cool seated and contemplative image setup before hand and thought I would just set him down and shoot. But, wouldn’t you know it, he challenged me to do a portrait with him standing along his tripod mounted camera. This turned out to be a great learning experience, as all my setup had to be scraped and I had to create on the fly, so to speak. By the time we ended the workshop I had photographed several of the attendees in different poses and lighting concepts. You can see the results in this post.

Stayed tuned for up and coming workshops. I would love to see you and work with you, as well.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One Photographer's View

Nefertiti Re-Visited
Eastman Kodak Elite Gallery Elite Award
Concealed in the darkness so familiar to the photographers of my youth, clad in the rubber apron and surrounded by the smell of the chemicals essential for this hallowed alchemy I anxiously waited for the magic to once again appear. And then there before me a watery image, an image I had created, an image that captured what my senses perceived but only my heart had seen, and now I could share it with the world. I was hooked.

Years have passed since the days of my youthful exuberance over the photographic image, years in which the passion has only intensified. With each passing year I find myself more and more enthralled with portrait photography, portraiture not purely as a reflection of reality but portraiture as an art form. The iconic images created by the masters of this art form Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, George Hurrell, Clarence Bull, Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, and Irving Penn to mention only a few, have left an indelible mark upon my heart. Portraiture is the art form that immortalizes.

A portrait has the unique ability to reveal the complexities of one’s humanness. A successful portrait delves beneath the surface of a simple likeness, peeling back that which is superficial and revealing the true character of personhood behind the mask. I chose photography as a portrait medium because of its uniqueness of speed. “There is a brief moment when all that there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit may be reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record. This is the elusive, “moment of truth”. – Yousuf Karsh

I begin the creating of my photographic portraits long before the first frame is exposed. I want to know all that I can about the nature of the person whose portrait I am creating. The designing of the image is complete before ever placing the subject before the lens. The positioning of the light, the direction of the shadow, and the pose of the subject are all part of the pre-shoot meditations, sometimes continuing for days before the actual shoot. The shoot itself is all about evoking and capturing that essential moment when the mask is lifted. Karsh writes, “The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize”.

I photograph extremely fast, never giving the subjects a chance to think themselves into self-consciousness. A steady flow of direction mixed with encouragement inspires my subject to climb higher, leave fear behind and embrace the light. Music sets the mood and after a moment or so the subject forgets that they are being photographed and gets caught up in the flow of the event. It is a tango, so to speak. It is the dance of love and passion, the dancers moving with the music and with each other creating movement, emotion, and beauty. I beckon to all my subjects, come dance with me before my lens and I once again wait for the magic.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Beginning

As it is with all things mortal there must be a beginning, this it that beginning for The Portraitist. I have spent my life in the pursuit of creating portraits that not only reflect the image of my subjects but also attempt to reveal the true essence of their humanness. Over the course of human history, artists have chosen many mediums in their pursuit of portraiture as an art form. I have personally chosen photography as my medium. As far back as I can remember I have loved the idea of creating portraits of people by way of the camera. My very first serious attempt was a portrait of my family seated on the couch. I was barely fourteen and knew nothing of composition, lighting or posing. I was shooting with a Minolta 2¼ square twin lens reflex and scarcely knew anything about exposure. Nevertheless, at that moment I knew I was embarking on a life long journey, as so many of you have also experienced as well. Even though the image is grainy and spotted with age I can in an instant be transported back to that very moment. It is one of my most valued possessions. It is said, “Portraiture is the art that immortalizes.”