October 16 sees the release of my first Kindle e-book, “Capturing The Face – A Guide To Creative Portrait Photography”, via Amazon. It’s structured around the 10 components that I believe are key to making artistic images of people:
Image capturing method
Formal visual art considerations
The X factor
These elements are all vital pieces to making something magical and I’ve found each worthy of deep exploration in Capturing the Face. I know what it’s like to do a shoot and end up with one or more of these elements overlooked, and as years have gone on, I’ve learned how to make sure each one is addressed so I get personally satisfying results. In the coming weeks I’ll put up some snippets of these chapters. Capturing the Face: A Guide To Creative Photographic Portraiture is 44 pages, $2.99, and available for pre-order right now.
During my recent trip to NYC I caught a gallery showing of German photomontage artist Grete Stern at the Museum of Modern Art. Stern fled the Nazis to Argentina in 1935, and produced a stunning series of images that are impressive for their creative weirdness as well as technical precision in the pre-computer, pre-xerox machine days.
The sense I get from Stern’s ideas is what I really want out of “assemblage” kind of art- a concept, completeness to the piece, and out-and-out craft and composition. As many modern collage artists show up on my Tumblr feed, few can pull those elements as tightly together as Stern did.
The newest skill I’ve picked up is the alcohol inkjet transfer technique, which uses Staples decals and rubbing alcohol and not much else. It seemed like a really effective technique for presenting nude imagery since it has a painterly feel on watercolor, basically dissolving the ink off the decal.
These images are currently up for sale as small 5×7 originals on my Etsy site.
The main series I presented at Photolucida to reviewers is the xerox transfers that I’d been referring to as “sketches,” though I’ve since been informed that’s a terrible name. Several reviewers wanted to see more of the work so I’ve been making dozens of new pieces over the last couple weeks. This photo was originally taken in 2009 at one of my earliest model shoots- nothing I would dare keep in my portfolio, but it turned out to be ideal for this particular project.
These images are from a set of Fuji instax minis (half Polaroids basically) that I shot in Indio, California. The model’s hair and dress texture made these images absolutely come together in a way that felt amazing to see developing. All effects are in-camera.
From Wednesday. The scenario was, rather than my usual self-selection of camera subjects, we were thrust with 8 different people I’d never seen before and challenged with making interesting work. That was pretty darn exciting- but I understand now that’s the actual job of the professional portrait artist. “You have 5 minutes to make a good picture with this person you don’t know at all.” This was shot with my Fuji Neo Classic Instax Mini, in-camera double exposure. His name is Ned and that’s all I know!
Model Trish Davis, done double-exposure fujiroid instax style. Her hair being up, and the double-x making her arms bigger and apparently more muscle-y, as well as squaring her jaw, gave this a real androgynous feel that the model actually picked as her favorite.