"...to see people as they are, as they imagine themselves, as they wish to be...to record their moment"...Annie Leibovitz
Mary Peter Anne Engaged
Like most photographers who portray people, I like to think I have a distinct style. You will likely see that in the various galleries on this site. Looking
at those photographs will help you decide if you want to work with me. I also share here some of my thoughts about portraits.
PORTRAIT AS SYMBOL. Significant environments, objects and expression are important tools we can use to convey something about a person
and make a portrait that stands as a symbol of who they are. I like to collaborate with people and help them determine how to express somethingabout themselves. Most of us want to "look good" in a portrait but we can say more about ourselves than that. Anne Waldman is one of America's best known
contemporary poets and a dramatic reader of her own poetry. She posed for this photograph, but her posture is right from her electrifying performances.
BLACK AND WHITE, COLOR, PLATINUM, DIGITAL, FILM? These choices can also be part of what we say. Color provides more information but
can distract as well as add. Black and white portraits focus attention on expression, posture and the graphical qualities of the image. Platinum prints
have a somewhat three dimensional "thinglike" quality and are the most archival of all photographic media. Emily, in the "Engaged" photo, had great
memories of shooting with film and working in the darkroom at art school, and wanted to be photographed that way. Peter's old favorite shirt needed
to be in color to preserve memories. Mary's platinum print has all the tonal beauty, depth and longevity of that medium and was made with a
digitally produced negative that allowed great control in fine tuning the image and printing in a range of sizes. I believe what we are trying to
achieve together in a portrait is more important than the debates about what technology is "best."
HOW WILL IT BE USED? Desktop photo or wall sized portrait? Advertisement, book jacket or brochure? Family heirloom, holiday card or web
image? An executive portrait usually shows a person in an environment related to the job, or with a plain background, but a personal portrait of the
same person might show a golfer, sailor or musician. An editorial portrait accompanying a magazine article might not be the same one a scientist
would want to give to a spouse or lover.
DRESS. Photographers often suggest that their clients dress casually, but it all depends on what side of ourselves we want to show. Polo shirt, swimsuit
and black tie can all have their place. What kind of statement do you want to make?
WORKING TOGETHER. The best portraits are a collaboration between client and photographer. Great portraits are everywhere...look at the people
pictures in your favorite newspapers, magazines and websites. The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair and BloombergBusinessweek all
have great photos of people. You can get a good idea of how I work looking at the portraits in my galleries on this site. It won't work to say "please do
this one for me" but talking about what you liked about portraits you've seen is a good way to begin creating one together. What's your favorite place?
Who is the audience for this photo? What do I want to show them? Most people don't know the all the answers to those questions, but these thoughts are
a place to start.