Environmental Portraiture

Here are a few portraits of a friend of mine in his natural element. Charles is extremely fond of gardens and gardening, and this is one of his favorite gardens that belongs to a friend of his. I hadn’t seen him in several years, and so the other weekend I drove up to Baltimore to visit, and brought along the Rollei to shoot his portrait. I’m so glad I used some of my last remaining rolls of Fuji Reala – they did him justice. It was the least I could do to honor him as he’s been such a good and devoted friend over the years.

Charles, In Henry's Garden, #1
Charles, In Henry’s Garden, #1
Charles, In Henry's Garden, #2
Charles, In Henry’s Garden, #2
Charles, Rule Britannia, Henry's Garden, #3
Charles, Rule Britannia, Henry’s Garden, #3
Charles, Architectural Element, Henry's Garden, #4
Charles, Architectural Element, Henry’s Garden, #4

Here are a couple from my ongoing Food Truck series – the cashier and the head chef of Pepe, the Jose Andrés-helmed gourmet food truck here in DC. I THINK the young man giving the interview in the second photo may be Jose Andrés’ son.

Cashier, Pepe Spanish Cuisine Food Truck
Cashier, Pepe Spanish Cuisine Food Truck
Pepe Food Truck Chef Interview, Franklin Square Park
Pepe Food Truck Chef Interview, Franklin Square Park

The following two are shots of a friend of mine who is thinking of getting into modeling, so we did a couple test portfolio pieces out at Glen Echo a month ago. I think he’s got the face for it, for certain. The trick will be to figure out if he can move and pose, and if he can get his body conformed to modeling industry standards.

James, Glen Echo Park #1
James, Glen Echo Park #1
James, Glen Echo Park #2
James, Glen Echo Park #2

And last but not least, here’s one from the vaults of another very dear friend from Singapore. We went to Fort Canning and went up on the roof of the remnants of the fortifications to shoot some photos of him and some of his friends, and I grabbed this one between poses. It captures his personality absolutely, although he foreswears this photo now because he has quit smoking. But it still reflects his inner sparkle and cheek.

Mirza, Fort Canning, Singapore
Mirza, Fort Canning, Singapore

I’m trying to get better at photographing strangers, and photographing unposed portraits. I find it incredibly easy to photograph people I know well because I can perceive little gestures and nuances that reflect their personality. The trick will be to get better at that kind of perception with total strangers, without imposing preconceived notions of what I THINK they are on them. Perhaps it’s an impossible chase, but it’s one I’m going to hazard.

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