Different formats. Different treatments. Same Vision?

I took this portrait of Michelle with a medium format camera and a long lens.  I used a Norman Beauty Dish and a large softbox for fill.  The background is lit by two small softboxes.  I love the long, soft tonalities.  And I love the quiet look of the whole thing.  

This portrait was shot many years ago on the outdoor patio of the old Sweetish Hill Restaurant.  Light filtered through the translucent skylight panels and bounced in from reflected sunlight in surrounding shop windows.  I used an Olympus Pen half frame camera with a 40mm 1.4 lens.  A relic of the early 1970's. Just like the photo above, I used Tri-X 400 film developed in D76.  This is NOT lit with a beauty dish.  Just natural light.

And, I guess my point is that the "feel" of the photograph, the quiet stare out to the camera :::: out to me, is similar in both.  The body position in both images has similar energy.  I think they are both contemplative images.  And what I am coming to find is that no matter what camera I use to do portraits with and however I light them, there are common threads.  There are little things that tie the emotion of the photographs together.  Beyond the tones and the postures and the look there is also the inclusion of a background that is both soft and present.

I never thought I had a style until I started looking back twenty years and then laying old prints next to new ones.  I have found one thing.  There is a difference between images shot to be printed and images shot to be looked at digitally.  The digital ones seem more sterile.  Quieter.  Less depth.  They seem flatter to me.  Just an observation.

Digital image.  EOS-1D mk2.  50 2.5 macro.

And yet, there are similarities.  The backgrounds feel similar to me.  And the  portrait of the coffee is quiet.  Funny to have a quiet style for such a boisterous and chatty blog writer.  

How do you create a style?  You don't.  It evolves over time.  When you AREN'T thinking about it.
I guess that makes the acquisition of style some sort of Zen thing.


Frank Grygier said...

Can you stop meditating for a minute and tell me the settings you used? (sarc humor)

Wolfgang Lonien said...

"Portrait of the coffee" - wow. Maybe this is your style - doing portraits of everything? From beautiful women to actors and CEOs to such things like micron-fine chip dies under the most colorful light?

Yes, many of your photos have that calmness. I really really love that. Those speak for themselves, and I'd hang them on walls.

Eduardo said...

Wolfgang and Kirk x2 a style is something that evolves and something that talks about you as a person.

Dave Jenkins said...

"Funny to have a quiet style..."

I've always thought of this calmness as "the moment of stillness," and is something I've always sought in my work.

As for being "boisterous and chatty," I certainly would not define you that way. Thoughtful, analytical, helpful, and often artful would be a better description. I wish there were more writers like you around. But then, if there were more people writing knowledgeable, enjoyable copy about photography online, I would probably get even less done.

Alan Fairley said...

A style evolves naturally when you have something to express....

Jessica said...

Yay for zen.

Oh, to sometimes have that outside eye of yourself. Sometimes it would be nice. According to some studies, our friends describe us much more accurately than we could ever hope to. I guess that's why it's hard to see the boundaries of one's own style.

Anonymous said...

Glad you saw that difference. i'm tired of perfect looking images. Really tired. Everything and nearly everybody has same looking images..
Think i may use FILM for next big three projects.
Leica M3.Starting to appreciate the square(i'm 67) and use my old Rollei TLR.