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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On the Water Part One

I’ve always been drawn to water & boats. My summers spent on the shores of Lake Chautauqua as a kid are the seed of this inspiration. I invite you will subscribe to my blog and discover other images and subjects that inspire me.

01

In my eyes, the simple beauty of sailboats grasping the unseen power of the wind is an attention grabber. The curve of the sails & the synergy of the wind & water is the essence of serene grace. Although I’m not a competitive person, the photo by Eric Schweikardt at 1977 Americas Cup is an image I consider outstanding. It introduced me to “Captain Courageous” aka Ted Turner. A renegade with flaws that changed the TV landscape in a way few others have done. This pair of E Scows are part of the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club. Watching these boats on opposite tacks my minds eye recalled that iconic shot from 77 & I knew I might have an opportunity to capture a similar image.   I call this a success.

02

This is a digitized image of an old Kodachrome from the early 80’s. It was taken off of Key Biscayne. The trim of the sails on this sloop with the golden hour light of sunset makes this one of my all-time favorite sailboat images I have taken. The quality of my old Kodachrome slides was still outstanding. Unfortunately, the budget digitizer I used doesn’t represent the true quality of the original image

03

A close-hauled tack is a great visualization of harnessing the power of the wind. The full sails with the boat pointed a few degrees off wind push the boat while the keel holds it tight. This was taken in the Virgin Islands on one of our 1st sailing vacations in the early 80’s. Even though this is another poor digitization, the subject overrides the quality. The islands are wonderful sailing grounds & the angle of the mountain with its shadows mirrors the angle of the mast making a great background.

04

On a kayaking vacation to Belize we stayed a few nights on South Water Caye just inside the barrier reef. The juxtaposition of this old style canoe paddle by a young child with the modern catamaran in the background speaks to the diversity of styles of boats & their use. It also emphasizes that our oldest form of transportation/exploration still has value.

05

Taking your camera on a boat requires extra precautions. The limited space when spending a week on a kayak in Belize amplified the challenge. Dry bags, clean towels at hand & plenty of optical wipes are a must. I’m glad I pay my insurance company to worry! The photo opps in the kayak going from island to island were limited. This is one of the few images I liked, a bird sanctuary we paused at on our paddle to South Water Caye.

06

I was introduced to white water rafting in boy scouts. I’m thrilled my family shares my sense of adventure it offers. My daughter & I rode the Tara River that defines part of the boarder of Bosnia & Montenegro. Rafting on the cold blue/green waters thru the gorge, aka the Grand Canyon of Europe, was spectacular. Along the way there are many waterfall tributaries that contribute to the class III and IV rapids. If I were to do more rafting photography I would invest in a waterproof cover. On this trip, I just made good/safe choices when to pull my camera out of the dry bag. This particular day inspired me to invest in a wide-angle zoom.

 

More On the Water coming soon in Part Two