Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Subtle Moments

I recently discovered that over the past 5 years I have taken more than 100,000 photos. I can't say that I love all of the photos I've taken. I've definitely grown over the years and refined my eye. As I reflect back over all of these photos, there a many that stand out in my mind. A lot of the photos are of building, street scenes, and other randomness. But the strangest thing is that the ones that stand out more than anything else are portraits.

The truth is I don't take traditional portraits. I dislike most posed photos with people looking directly into the camera. They always seem very 1 dimensional and lacking a certain real life element to them. My versions of portraits capture moments that express certain elements of the subjects life or personality.

Due to the nature of the portraits I like taking, I really only photograph my friends (and family). These are people I know quite well and can capture aspects of their personalities in the photos. They are also the ones I'm most comfortable with and allow to experiment with various shots while acting like the camera isn't there. As I was thinking about all of these photos, I decided to highlight some of my favorite portraits and give some background on the shots to explain how they came about and why they stand out. These are by no means the be-all-end-all of my favorite portraits. These are just some that stand out I looked through and thought about all of the photos I have taken.

Mickey - This might be my favorite photo that I've ever taken. It's a bold statement, but this one always pops in my mind. This photo actually happened very randomly. Mickey is a very happy person. She's always smiling whenever I see her. We happened to be out at lunch one day and sitting outside under some umbrellas when she leaned back into the sun in sort of a sun-makes-me-happy moment. It caught my eye and I told her to do it again, and snapped this one frame. I flipped it into gray scale, and boom. It stand out to me not only because it captures Mickey's happy personality, but also one of those simple moments in life that many of us forget about at times.

Briana - I have probably taken thousands of photos of my niece since her birth. Out of all of the photos, only a few stand out. This is one of those few images. It stands out to me for the simple look of curiosity. She was playing with this little stuffed animal, but kept grabbing the tag like she was trying to figure out what it was. I usually have my camera locked on her whenever I visit, and I snapped a couple of frames and this one stood out the most. It always reminds me of the never ending curiosity of little kids.

Dominic - I've taken a lot of photos of this man over the years. He learned a long time ago to ignore my camera, which allows me to snap random photos. Out of all the photos I've taken of him, this one stands out due to the sunburst silhouette aspect. It is kind of an odd image, but it is actually more of a reflection of him than many of my other shots. Dom is the type of person who is always thinking of new ideas at a moments notice. He is also the type of person who can walk into a room and talk to any person about anything. To me the sun captures that spontaneity and is a great reflection of him. Brian - I've known Brian for a number of years, and most of my shots of him are random street shots that don't capture much. This one we happened to be out one of the piers near Fisherman's Wharf just looking at the city. The combination of the sun and the wall just made image for for me. It has an element of a quiet wondering that captures elements of his low key nature. Jocelyn - I've known and worked with Jocelyn for almost 5 years, and whenever I think of her, food and laughter come to mind. She loves food and has a great deadpan sense of humor. I've photographed her at various office events and while hanging out outside of the office, but none of those photos stand out like this one. It captures the relaxed vibe of enjoying a good meal with friend with her general happiness and love of life. It's kind of one of those random snap shots that captures the right vibe.

Monica - I've known Monica for a number of years. At times she will try to act tough, but she is one of the sweetest people I know. Her nickname "Gangsta Mittens" sums it all up. This photo captures her true nature. To me it captures her love of life and spending time with people. Her eyes and smile just say happiness to me, which is what stands out to me.

Alaina and James - I have know and worked with both of these wonderful people for a number of years. And 9 times out of 10, both of them will always have smiles on their faces - especially when they are together. This is an example of one of those rare moments that I enjoy taking posed pictures. It stands out to me because even tho it is posed the smiles are forced. They are just happy people who enjoy life.

Victor - This is a hard one to explain. This is more a commentary that only Victor can express and that would be the "Why are you taking my photo?" He is used to my camera always being around, but also questions why I take some many photos. The cocked head with the side-eye view speaks without saying a word. Everybody I've ever photographed has gotten annoyed with me at one point or another, and this captures it perfectly.

Mariam - Three things always pop in my mind when it comes to Mariam: Iran, curiosity and food. Obviously the last one does not apply to this photo. I've known her since we were 16 years old and her love for Iran has always been a constant element of her life. The shirt she is wearing in this photo is a subtle element expressing that part of her life. She also has a constant curiosity of life and learning different things. The side-eye glance implies that questioning of "What's going on over there?" I also like the random street shot aspect of the shot. It is one of those every day moments when you are out and wondering what's going on around you. It's subtle but it works in my mind.

All of these photos are examples of the different ways I like to shoot people. I go with the flow and when the right moment comes up... I hit the shutter. I've grown a lot over the years with capturing these moments. These past 5 years have only been the beginning... there is still a lot more to come.

Life and times...

Kira's birthday celebration:

The birthday girl enjoying one of many:

Very few people can pull off carrying a bag of chard into a bar... James might be the only one: