Tag Archives: Environmental portraiture

More Environmental Portraiture

Two more photos of my friend, Charles, in his friend Henry’s garden.

Charles, in the Garden
Charles, in the Garden
Charles, at the Garden Gate
Charles, at the Garden Gate

Sometimes a portrait doesn’t even have to include the person it’s about. In this case, the design of the garden, including the whimsies and follies, speak volumes about the garden’s designer.

Iron Gate, Henry's Garden
Iron Gate, Henry’s Garden
Rusted Toy, Henry's Garden
Rusted Toy, Henry’s Garden

All taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E, on Fuji Reala film. The film is easily 11 years out of date, but still produces excellent results. I wish I had a couple of bricks more of it in cold storage, but Fuji discontinued the emulsion in all but 35mm size a couple years ago.

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.

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 5

Remember what I said earlier about issues? Here’s another example of how issues have shifted – instead of HIV/AIDS, now we have PETA pushing to spay/neuter our pets. Again, an important issue – both of my cats are neutered. But “Condoms don’t work- spay your cat” doesn’t have quite the same impact as “Silence=Death”. Again, not that I’m wishing to go back to 1993 when people literally did drop like flies. Progress is a wonderful thing. The nostalgia is more for the sense of shared community that came with having an enemy to fight. We were all brothers then.  Now we’ve got Thai restaurants and PETA selling us pad thai and feline gender reassignment surgery. At least the salespeople are cute 😀

 

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 4

Truly the gamut of images of Pride. I was most struck by the young Latino boy marching with ‘Mpoderate! (Empower Yourself!) a gay Latino/a youth group. Talk about an at-risk population – kids who are aliens in their culture in so many ways- coming from a foreign country and/or a home where English is a distant second language, a culture where male/female roles are rigidly defined and deviation is met with anything from disapproval to violence, and a range of religions that fervently discourage homosexuality, and it’s a wonder that many of them make it to their 18th birthday without criminal records, HIV infection, or getting hurt/killed. This is NOT to generalize that the Latino community is monolithically oppressive or that there are no happy healthy well-adjusted gay Latinos in the US. But the kids who use the services of ‘Mpoderate! are the ones who are facing all those kinds of oppressions. If you’re interested in finding out more about ‘Mpoderate and how you can support their services, you can check out the website for La Clinica Del Pueblo – they’re the parent organization.

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 3

I’ve been attending Pride parades and festivals for over 20 years now. Every year is different, in every city. One thing I’ve noticed as a sea change from the early days is the switch in emphasis from AIDS/HIV (not that it has gone away, but it is now very much in the background, which is not necessarily a good thing) to gay families – the most wildly cheered groups are PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays) and the gay parenting groups. There are as always the nearly naked dancing boys with the Supersoakers, the gay bars and the leather/sm/fetish clubs, along with drag queens galore. It is fascinating to see how the movement has changed as time has gone on… now that our basic civil rights are reasonably secure and the political focus has shifted from mere survival to guaranteeing the right to thrive. There’s a certain absence of frisson, rebellious tension and erotic possibility in the air that used to be there, and I’m not sure if it is because I’ve grown up or because the movement has.

 

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 2

I went to the Pride Parade yesterday here in Washington DC. It was a photo exercise as much as documentary outing because I limited myself to shooting the entire thing with my Canon 5D and 135mm F2 L lens. I was aiming for portraits of the people populating the event. I’m going to batch them in sets of ten give or take so I don’t overload anyone visually, or completely choke their bandwidth. And as always, the appearance of anyone in these photos is not to be taken as indicative of their sexuality or gender identity, one way or another. Gosh, I can’t wait for the day that disclaimer is absolutely unnecessary.

 

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’

I went to the Pride Parade yesterday here in Washington DC. It was a photo exercise as much as documentary outing because I limited myself to shooting the entire thing with my Canon 5D and 135mm F2 L lens. I was aiming for portraits of the people populating the event. I’m going to batch them in sets of ten give or take so I don’t overload anyone visually, or completely choke their bandwidth. And as always, the appearance of anyone in these photos is not to be taken as indicative of their sexuality or gender identity, one way or another. Gosh, I can’t wait for the day that disclaimer is absolutely unnecessary.