Hardly a day goes by that I don't see absolutely beautiful people out walking on the streets, in the coffee shops and at the grocery store. This is Mousumi. I met her when I did a press check on a print project. I did what I usually do: I told her I would like to make a portrait of her, asked her to check out my website and to call me if she felt inclined. That's really all you can do. But I try to do it when I am confronted with beautiful people because I know that if I do nothing I may never have that opportunity again and I'll regret it.
There is a scene in the movie, Citizen Kane, where on old man in a monumental office is being interviewed and he is reminiscing about his past. He remembers a day in his youth. He was about to take the Staten Island ferry out and was watching a ferry coming in. At the front rail was a woman about his age that he described as the most beautiful vision he'd ever seen. He wanted to go and meet her. Somehow strike up a conversation. But he didn't. And his boat was leaving. And he got on and left.
And eight decades later, with moist eyes and a hesitant voice, filled with emotion, he says, "And there isn't a day that's gone by since then that I don't think about her...." The regret of entropy, of procrastination.
I think every portrait photographer has in mind certain kinds of faces, and people with certain kinds of energy, that resonate with their styles. If you depend only on paid commissions to do your art you may never be blessed with the kinds of subjects that add a vital spark to your process. Without that spark of energy all you have is a job.
I think one of our goals as artists is to discover beauty and share it. To make our interpretation of beauty a part of the fabric of our collective culture. It's a wonderful responsibility.