schram portrait one | Vancouver Photographer

February 1, 2010

“The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

A camera has a powerful effect on people. At least when they know it’s pointing at them.

Some people don’t mind this way or that, but they are the exception. Most people react fairly strong to having a camera pointed art them. For some, its equivalent to pointing a gun at them; they freak out and run away. Others act as though a spot light has just been turned on them and they are immediately compelled to get into character, pose, and perform.

Others can’t keep a straight face and start giggling…

Between all that, and the technical requirements of actually talking the picture, there’s a lot to consider as a photographer. Between all that who do you “…put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.”

How do you get to the core of the person? I wish I could make a “Top Ten Ways to Do That” blog, but I can’t. And neither can you as far as I’m concerned.

I guess my point is that as a photographer you can spend a heck of a lot of time preparing for a shoot, conceptualizing it, plotting it out. You can buy and rent gear, hire models, build elaborate sets, etc. And that’s all good.

There is something though that happens so often while shooting which is spontaneous, unplanned, and organic. Preparing is good because it will make you ready when those moments come. And in portraiture, those moments, which are often really seconds if that, are brilliant. The way I see it is that those are the moments when your subject lets their guard down and reveals them self to the camera.

Alan here is a complex man, if I may be so bold.

He is thoughtful, he is smart, and he is an all around good man.

And, he has this other side to him that I particularly like. It’s the side that makes me feel like we’re toddlers playing in the sand box.

(See images at end of blog for visual)

I loved shooting Alan because when I put my camera in front of him this was the side of him that simply escaped out of him.

Even though he had worked in the cold, pouring rain all day, and even though he must have been just exhausted, he just couldn’t help himself.

And the best images from the session had a child-likeness, a playfulness, and an innocence that I absolutely loved.

Thanks Alan


2 Responses to “schram portrait one | Vancouver Photographer”

  1. Ashley said

    nice friend! now bring on part two!

  2. deb said

    i’m of the sort that finds a camera pointing at me as annoying as a mosquito…but im trying, truly, to change that…sorta 🙂

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