Many photographers find it difficult to take photos of people not because it’s physically hard but because the interaction required can be off-putting. It’s much easier to point your camera at a landscape or a building and push the shutter than it is to point it toward a person because that person might look at you or talk to you. Trees don’t look at you funny. Buildings don’t ask what you’re doing. But here’s the thing: a lot of those same photographers *want* to take photos of people but because it’s out of their comfort range they don’t. The challenge, then, is to do it anyway. Go take photos of people. Start with your friends and family. Begin by suggesting poses — “pretend you’re James Bond and model your finger guns!” or “everyone do the chin shelf!” Then once everyone is loosened up just start capturing the fun. Some of the best shots come when everyone is goofing around and not paying attention to the camera at all.
The most excellent photo above by pablo.raw is an example of what you can capture when people are relaxed and having fun. The subject isn’t shying away from or feeling intimidated by the camera, she’s interacting with it and being herself. These are the kinds of things you want to achieve and the best way to achieve them is to feel at ease behind the camera. And of course the only way to feel at ease is to practice. It may take you some time but in the end it’ll be worth the effort.
‘Stranger 100 – Jacob’
courtesy of ‘jim_darling’
Taking portraits isn’t easy. Taking portraits of strangers is even more difficult. Doing that one hundred times seems like a Sisyphean task: finding just the right subject; working up the courage; approaching them; getting rejected; trying with another; getting them comfortable; taking the shot, then another. Endless and repetitive. Many people start projects like the 100 Strangers to try and get some inspiration. Some do it without much thought, as if the mere act of getting the shot is enough to make them good. Some become bored and abandon their projects midway. But a few think (and over think) their project, and they learn from it as they go. The latter is exactly why I’m featuring Jim Darling‘s 100th stranger.
It’s not about the shot itself, which is a good portrait. It’s about the journey and the entire work taken as a whole. If you’ve got some time, go and take a look at the slideshow of all 100 portraits. You can see Jim’s style evolve as he wandered DC and other locales to get the next stranger.
“At #22 I discovered that this project could really be something,” Jim wrote. “And by #44 I was finding that I really cared about the art of the portrait. Granted they weren’t all winners, and sometimes when I thought a location or event would garner something inspiring, it just didn’t quite make it.”
As he shot these strangers’ portraits, Jim also got to be a part of their lives. Sometimes, only for those few minutes that it takes to get the shot, but sometimes he’s become friends with his strangers. Maybe tonight, on your way home or at the bar, you might consider having a brief conversation with a stranger. You never know where it will lead.
Kent 03 by Yospyn
As much as we try to fight it every year, winter has finally settled in upon us. The days of patio dining and trips to the shore are over, replaced by more home cooked meals and vacations to warm destinations. The time has come when we must find where we stored our winter hats, heavy coats, and the mental strength to make it through to spring. I don’t know about you, but my mind switches gears when it realizes that there are months of dismal weather to come. The world slows down, giving me time to reflect, rejuvenate, and renew.
The photo above by local photographer, Joshua Yospyn, depicts a man who has been through many winters of reflection. You can see the accrued wisdom in his eyes and peace in his soul. The dark shades of his coat, hat, and umbrella accentuate the intense color of his eyes, the ghostly paleness of his skin, and the frosty red tip of his nose. What appears to be a window reflection in the lower right is an enigma according to the photographer – he has no idea what it is or how it got there. This leads me to wonder, does Old Man Winter actually exist or is he an apparition? I’ll ponder that as I sip on an Irish coffee under the comfort of my warm blanket. Wake me up when the cherry blossoms start blooming.