ON FACESApril 14, 2023
Sometimes I find myself creatively blocked. I force myself to shoot and end up throwing away almost every frame, increasing my frustration. When this happens I try to draw inspiration from the great 20th century photographers whose work I admire. Arnold Newman, who established environmental portraiture with his images of Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Picasso. Helmut Newton for his erotic black and white photographs, Philippe Halsman, famous for his iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall and an impressive list of artists and writers. This group is known for their superb portraits and people studies. I’m in no way trying to place myself in their company, but I did start out as a portrait photographer. Portraits and weddings are the often the first stop along the road to becoming a professional photographer. I took a glance into my archives to view the faces I have photographed over the years; artists, musicians, working people, and regular folks.
This first group of musicians was done in the early 1980s. I had an arrangement with the now defunct Cellar Door to photograph artists between sets. I set up a flash head with an umbrella in a vestibule on the second floor and had at it. Not my best work, but a good first effort.
Eventually, I found myself doing portraits in studios and work places. In these environs I use available light.
At other times I took a more traditional approach, using studio lighting.
You’ve heard it many times before, every face tells a story. With that in mind I just had to do a self-portrait in my studio. I blended the traditional with a bit of edginess, a much more intense look than I ever exhibit. Some might describe this as bizarre, but I like it, I’m sure I am in there somewhere.
Until next time…