Lead Singer In Church.

I like portraits that look like this. I like all the stuff out of focus in the background and I like the almost defiant stare from my subject.  I like that she's not overly made up. I like that her hair curls up and sticks out on the right side of her head.  The image was done with a Zeiss 85mm 1.4 ZE on a Canon 1Dmk2n.  The light is pretty obviously just what's available.

I guess my point in showing this and talking about it is that I didn't have a traditional client telling me how to shoot.  Rosie and I were out on Willie Nelson's ranch on a misty fall day with no one to please but ourselves.  So much of developing and holding on to a style you like has to do with spending enough time playing and shooting what you want.  Not what you think someone else wants.

I think it's all about practicing the fun.


Claire said...

Oh yes ! In my case, the sweet, priceless privilege of being an amateur with no one to please but myself. Hobbyists often dream of being pros. I think it they thought about it a little harder they'd cherish the freedom the absence of obligation gives them... I do.

Jamie Pillers said...

Kirk, thanks for posting this lovely portrait. Seeing it made me think of all the nonsense that goes on in the names of celebrity and power. Every time I see portraits that clearly involved artificial lighting, make-up artistry, and PR coaching, my reaction is "this is fake, this is not the real person, and the photographer/corporation is trying to manipulate me." I guess I'd be terrible trying to make a living in an ad agency. :-)

Lenard Burgess said...

Agreed, it is all about if you like it, not if it meets others expectations....that is freedom in the very purest sense of the word.

Bill Beebe said...

I like portraits that look like this.

So do I.

jrapdx said...

A fine portrait indeed. I wonder though, do we really shoot just to please ourselves? Is self-indulgence all that "personal" photography accomplishes?

Walking downtown last weekend, my wife and I encountered a display of the history of black citizens in the region. There were numerous photographs, and I was struck that these images were so interesting, even if none of the individuals were ever known to us, or buildings depicted still existed.

I can easily imagine the young woman in your photo and her descendants cherishing this image long into the future. But even our less accomplished shots may well count for something 100 years from now. How could we know? Perhaps we shouldn't regard our photos cavalierly, any made with deliberation could very well be valuable down the line.

Kind of reminds me of a line from a 1960's Paul Simon song, "I have a photograph. Preserve your memories, it's all that's left you."


JerseyT said...

I share your pleasure with a casual portrait like this. Your formal portraits are wonderful also, but there is a distinct difference in one's reaction to them.
I notice that your subjects are almost always placed directly in the center of the frame. It's an effective presentation, and a part of your signature style. Did you develop this method deliberately, or did it just evolve as part of the way you see?
Have you blogged about your style before? If not, I think there's some fertile material here.

Anonymous said...

Excellent picture. I like the various shades and temperatures, and the narrow depth of field gives it a very close and personal feeling. I love the ease-of-use of my little MFT camera, but big sensors and fast glass never really go out of style.