Portraiture Workshop, Week 3

Rick let us off the leash this week. Our assignment: 20 minutes alone in the studio with our subject, no direction. We did this three times over the course of the evening. 

Our model, Gabriel, was the first male of the workshop. Young, insightful and enthusiastic, he was the right choice for the task. 

It's interesting, talking with someone while you take their picture. My shutter-happy tendencies went haywire, snapping hundreds of shots. My mind went into overdrive, following the conversation's thread while keeping tabs on my camera and lighting. 

It's surprising what you end up sharing. The close quarters push the usually delicate dance of stranger-on-stranger conversation into warp speed. Perhaps you recognize your subject's vulnerability and open yourself up in order to meet them there. I learned a lot about Gabriel, and he a lot about me. We came away from the sessions newfound acquaintances ready to weigh life's complexities over tea.   

Karen, my classmate, had a much different approach. She was methodical and silent during her work, only asking Gabriel to move a hand or tilt his chin when necessary. Her shots were much less rapid-fire, and the mood was one of reverence and precision. This left me second-guessing my own approach, wondering if I was too casual, or if she was too serious. 

So, who's right?

Well, we both are. I'm learning that our personalities, both subject and photographer, are infused throughout our shots. The way we see our subject - and the way they see us - shows up on camera through a relaxed face, crossed arms or a dubious eye. The relationship comes to life through the lens, so to speak. 

Special thanks to Gabriel Sanchez for being such a good sport.