Non-Talking Heads

During my career I shot thousands of Talking Heads. With my eye in a viewfinder or watching monitors I saw moments where character was revealed on top of features. Usually it was as subjects listened so it rarely made the edit. Some video/film works paint a picture of people well. However, the portrait is a genre of stills. Portraiture is a significant goal of my upcoming photo essay.

During my career I shot thousands of Talking Heads. With my eye in a viewfinder or watching monitors I saw moments where character was revealed on top of features. Usually it was as subjects listened so it rarely made the edit. Some video/film works paint a picture of people well. However, the portrait is a genre of stills. Portraiture is a significant goal of my upcoming photo essay.

001

Some portraits will always convey personal memories & relationship. On the deck of The Harp & Fiddle Jerry Hughes returned my Ike 55 I loaned as back-up about 10 years ago. Since the early 80’s we have worked alongside each other in a spectrum of capacities. His professional attitude & personal friendship are traits I see in his wise eyes. A Chicagoan by birth he came to Pittsburgh via ND & LA. Thanks for everything!

0001

This docent/guide at Ft. Niagara had the perfect face of a young soldier. The soft reflective light bouncing off the deep walls of the fortress window was about perfect. I’m trying to engage interesting people to get more intimate photos. I did direct him where to look for the best light/shadows. The expression in his eyes of a young mans apprehension in a far away land clutching his weapon was his own contribution.

02

I believe people at work exhibit a glimpse of their character. Especially people engaged with tools. This craftsman in Copper Alley Sarajevo focuses on a detail of a small object. Surrounded by his work, the old eyes guide his hands as they have thousands of times. People in the books of Studs Terkel have inspired me. Working, his 74 oral history classic, heightened my interest in the stories of the individual at work.

0003

A Power of the portrait are details giving a taste of personality. The eyes & the subdue smile framed by his goatee show a friendly person. Adding his hand into the shot emphasizes strength. I worked with Slappy & I can affirm he is the type of person you enjoy working with & being around. The non-studio staged portrait provides challenges. By having him tilt his head & cropping the image very tight I was able to fill the frame almost completely avoiding BG distractions.

04

I like people in candid moments. Even without the full face I consider this a portrait. It shows emotions in a moment of waiting. Holding herself tight we get a glimpse of her anxious face in profile. The tree is a barrier she looks beyond. The umbrella adds weight to the moment. I like how the visual elements come together. Rain provides opportunities that you need to look for. The work of Philippe Halsman can be credited for breaking the constrains of traditional studio 3 point lighting portraits. Some of his work with Salvador Dali is amazing. Currently, the images of Annie Leibovitz are some of the most inspiring portraiture I see.

 05

Some people smile using all parts of their face. On a rainy day this parking attendant had a smile for everybody. The pith hat is a perfect “topper” to the beard, nose, cheeks, &  the squinting eyes. His face toughened by the weather dominates even though he is wearing a neon safety vest. This portrait shows how all our features display emotion.

06

Andy I’s deep-set eyes in shadow are a drawing feature. Shadows on his cheek etch strong facial structure & the reserved smile defines his personality. Headsets literally tie him to his craft. He is one of many top quality sports camera ops I was privileged to work with during my career. As a replay operator, aka slomologist, I watched thousands of hours of events thru the eyes of dedicated professionals like Andy. Watching, looking & examining the work of others is a tremendous motivator.

08

Some say out of the mouths of children come honesty. I believe innocent eyes are where you find honest emotion. These 2 lived on a farm near The Jungle Dome in Central Belize. I prefer being ignored & become a fly on the wall taking pictures. In this shot these 2 toddlers were intrigued by my every move. The eyes define curious. I try to be respectful of parents wishes when taking photographs of children.

10

Randy Gilson is described as a master in the art of making something worthwhile out of what is seen as worthless. Somehow I never heard of RandyLand but when I heard the basic description of eclectic re purposed art it was enough of a hook to get me to visit. I won’t try to describe what he has done to a corner setting in the North Side of Pittsburgh other than with this portrait of him. He is one-of-a-kind with a mission that can be infectious.

Inspired by Humans of New York, photos like these are a goal for a 2-week trip to a country in the tropic of Cancer. I am practicing this genre to improve my approach & techniques with the goal of documenting people & stories of their lives. Suggestions welcomed as well as critique.  Coming up in my next post I look at 2 spirited sisters.

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Summer in the Rear View Mirror

It is officially Fall but this post looks back on Summer trips. Some journeys were new destinations; others were return visits to old favorites worth another look. My mental focus now is preparing for a 2-week photo essay in the Caribbean this coming Winter. Follow along over the next 4 months for details. Feedback & suggestions appreciated.

It is officially Fall but this post looks back on Summer trips. Some journeys were new destinations; others were return visits to favorites worth another look. My mental focus is shifting towards the preparation for a 2-week photo essay in the Caribbean this coming Winter. Follow along over the next 4 months for details. Feedback & suggestions appreciated!

01

I found out a schooner was coming to Cape Vincent, NY on it’s way into the Great Lakes. I took a road-trip & caught the Pride of Baltimore as she arrived. Unfortunately for me she did not have her sails up. See Summer Part 1 for a picture of her.  This picture represents countless broken dreams along the shores of most bodies of water.  Every boat has a story. The NY lake shore of Ontario as well as the St. Lawrence is a enjoyable trip with many interesting places to visit.

02

As a history buff I’ve wanted to explore Ft. Niagara North of the falls. It played a significant role in 3 wars…French/Indian, Revolutionary and 1812. Unlike inland forts,  constrained by topography & the need for confined security, this citadel on the shores of the Niagara River & Lake Ontario is very open. The French built the original but it was taken over by the British & finally yielded to the US in 1796.

03

Letchworth State Park spans the Genesee River. Some call it The Grand Canyon of the East, not to be confused with PA Grand Canyon or the real Grand Canyon. It has 3 waterfalls, many hiking trails, & all the other amenities you would expect at a grand park with a canyon. It is very well maintained & has a statue of Mary Jemison. She was the subject of a painting by Robert Griffing. I co-produced a doc about the artist & the painting called The Taking of Mary Jemison. Her life is a fascinating story. The doc wasn’t bad.

04

One of the things I enjoyed at Letchworth was the opportunity to use many lenses. I am still getting comfortable with adjusting my minds eye to my 10-22 zoom. This dragon fly was patient as I kept moving closer to min focus. The composition is poor but I discovered an interesting niche for a wide lens I hadn’t anticipated.

05

These simple yellow flowers pop in the strong sunlight. Zoomed in with my 100-400 I was able to soften the waterfall background with soft random highlights. The bee in the lower left never feasted on the top flowers while I was there. I didn’t crop him out because it’s a detail that adds a hint of flavor even though I would have rather he flew upper left or right of frame.

06

Lillydale is an interesting lil hamlet in central Chautauqua County NY. Spectacular gardens with fantastically maintained family sized Victorian homes. In early Spring, before the “season” opens…stay with me…it is a fairy land to walk thru. Yes they do have a fairy trail. During the 8 week “season” it is a home to many spiritualists, mediums, healers, & paranormal enthusiasts

07

Juxtaposition is a wonderful tool especially in still images. I couldn’t help myself from thinking if DTV or Dish was better for connecting with the other side. I must admit, I am skeptical by nature as well as curious. However, I have never wanted to have my future told or connect with someone who has passed

08

I enjoy people with a good sense of humor about themselves. By no means is this a good photo, but because of the sign above the door if I ever want to have a reading, this is where I would go.  Link to good joke. A visit here is worth the time. You will find a pet cemetery, inspiration stump, & as you would imagine ghost walks.

09

I may be one of the few people that enjoy taking pics in the rain especially street photography. Reflections, reactions of people & the costumes all change during a storm. Although not my intent to have a blur, I think it emphasizes the environment of a downpour. Instead of a boring afternoon sitting inside we took a 1st time visitor to Pittsburgh on a tour of distinctly Pittsburgh places in the rain. It’s only water!!!

10

It has been an annual family/visitor event for close to 20 years…blueberry picking. SW NY is primarily an agricultural region with wonderful vineyards, rows & rows of delicious corn & of course the berries. It was a dry season so the fruit didn’t get very big; I choose the shot with the fly for relativity. 2 bucks a pound for a delicious add to your breakfast. Sometimes Life is Like That.

 

 

 

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