The Portrait and the Back-story:
It’s titled “Humble Mechanic” and it’s my highest scoring portrait to date. I love to compete in Professional Photographers of America (PPA) print competitions. I’ve found that competing makes me a better photographer by making me pay attention to the details.
I had first met this gentleman in 2013 and had a couple of small prints to give him when I returned to Trinidad, Cuba in 2014.
He remembered me taking the images and we had a warm exchange of smiles, hugs, and handshakes.
He was willing to let me photograph him again so I got him under a small tree to try to block the overhead light, but the location wasn’t working well.
My mind was racing. What can I do ? Where can I put him ? Portraiture is not my forte. If I were dropped into a forest, or a desert, or a city I’m confident I could produce a landscape image that pleased me.
Directly across the street was a large city building with a colonnade and portico. It would have to work. I hustled my friend across the street, got him under cover and spotted him where I saw light breaking around a column creating a light side and a shadow side. Here I should get the same light on my friends face and I did. The bonus was a ton of reflected light coming from the marble floor and yellow wall behind my friend making a nice accent on his back.
The session did not last long. Some of my travel mates spied me and descended on us like paparazzi. My poor friend was overwhelmed and out of his comfort zone. I’m not complaining at all. I got my shots and my friend got his pictures and some money.
I hope to find him again.
I’ve studied with some great natural light portrait photographers here in New Hampshire in an effort to learn this craft. I have to thank Steve Bedell, Don Chick, and Jeff Dachowski for getting just enough knowledge into my head to allow me to pull this one off.
With my friend. Image by Kate Mann.