This is Senator, Kirk Watson. A Democrat from Texas.
This is one of my favorite portraits. I probably like it because I really like Kirk Watson. He was the mayor of Austin for a while and did a great job. He's always be personable, kind and patient with the people working around him. He isn't a prima donna politician. And finally, I think his heart is in the right place...which has meaning no matter what side of the political spectrum you call home.
It's also one of my favorites because it is informal, relaxed and collaborative. So much gets written about lighting and gear but the real magic, where the rubber meets the visual road in portraiture, is getting that elusive quality called "rapport". A meeting of the minds. The intersection of greatest commonality. Shared experience and shared purpose. That's what makes people "smile with their eyes."
And fortunately, or unfortunately, it's not a component of photography that you can buy. There are a lot of books about lighting and portraiture but none about how to talk to portrait sitters in a meaningful way. Or why you should read novels and magazines and see some movies that don't always have scenes where stuff blows up. Why you should read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Many times your photographic knowledge and creativity takes a back seat to keeping up your side of a conversation.
Technical stuff: Shot with a Hasselblad 501 CM, 150mm lens, Fujichrome. Lit with two Profoto Monolights. One large softbox. One grid spot on a zoom reflector.