I often encourage models, especially younger models, to bring a parent or friend along to their first shoot with me. It helps them feel safe, which is crucial.
This week's model brought a friend along. I was happy to meet her, and offered to take a few shots of the friend, as well.
Sofia hadn't planned on being photographed. She wore no makeup, hadn't done anything with her hair, wasn't wearing anything special. But my model encouraged her to take a few, and Sophia shrugged and said, "Sure, why not?"
She said she had low self esteem and low self confidence. I don't know Sofia well enough to gauge whether this is true. On my modeling stool, she projected an air of guarded vulnerability that I found fascinating. Sofia was a study in contrasts: unexperienced, but needing little or no direction; shy, yet willing to take a chance; soft exterior, but a sharp mind.
You'll see the primary model in next week's post. She's somewhat experienced and brimming with vitality, and I loved every minute of our shoot together. We plan to shoot more. It's going to be absolutely amazing. But today, let's focus on the young woman who bared her face and soul without warning or expectation.
This is Sofia.
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Note: This post originally had the model's name spelled incorrectly. Her name is "Sofia." The headline, text, and tags have been changed to reflect this correction.
My model this week had to postpone her session. Fortunately, Tim needed a publicity photo anyway, and he graciously allowed me to take a few photos for my growing chiaroscuro collection. We didn't have time for a full session, but we did get some good shots. Click any photo to see it in larger size.
Recently, I've been experimenting with lighting; specifically, highlighting the angles and planes of the faces and the chiaroscuro effect. Last week's work with Jace is an excellent example of the type of look I'm trying to create.
This week, I had the pleasure of working with Jordan, a college student just beginning to try a modeling career. Jordan was very different from Jace, whose older, more world-weary looks drew on a rich and varied experience; Jordan is still learning. It took us a while to find a common ground. Once we found it, we were able to get some really good shots.
Modeling is harder than it looks. You don't have to be classically good-looking. What you really need are the ability to relax and the ability to allow your face to reflect what's on your mind. Generally, I find young adults the most difficult to shoot. They're still finding their feet, learning who they really are, and trying to figure out how much of their inner selves they feel safe expressing. So I didn't have very high hopes when I started out with Jordan -- but he surprised me.
Take a look and see what you think. Click any photo to see it in a larger size.
What can I say? Jace has a smoldering, brooding look that delivers on its promise: our session was punctuated by his insightful discourse on politics, healthcare, science, and chemistry. I need to schedule another session with Jace, as the conversation was so fascinating that I neglected to get all the photos I wanted. It's a rare treat to have such an intellectual experience during a photo shoot.
Click any photo to see it at full size.
As I've often mentioned, I love photographing children. Capturing their wonder and candor is both a challenge and a privilege. Gabriella is on the cusp of adulthood -- old enough to portray complex emotions, yet young enough to be candid. She is an incredible young woman. I think that quality shines through here.
I got to spend the afternoon with the amazing Beth Spierer. You may have seen her in James Franco's "The Deuce," as well as in a boatload of independent movies and local commercials. We started out with some raw, simple head shots, but things got out of hand quickly, in the best way possible. Here are some of the results. Beth is a real pro, and a very good sport!
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My daughter loves to sit in a sunny window. Over the past couple of days, we've taken advantage of good light in the mornings to get some slice-of-life shots. The last photo, in the cream lace top, was late in the afternoon today.
What's your favorite time of day for portraits?
Friday, I got to have lunch with the amazing Nina Paley at Google NYC. Nina is an artist extraordinaire, and I was lucky to get a couple of hours with her for lunch and a photo shoot on the rooftop terrace of the Google building in New York City. Here are a few of my favorite shots.
I was very lucky today to have a photo session last weekend with Frank Campagna, author of the popular parenting blog "Autism Daddy." It was particularly exciting for me because, like Frank's son, my own daughter has autism and epilepsy. We had a great conversation and got some fantastic shots.