portraits

I LOVE VIRGINIA PRESCOTT

Virginia Prescott • NHPR

I love listening to New Hampshire Public Radio (I know, I know, I'm getting so old!), and there are a few shows that I really love listening to, and one of them is the show Word Of Mouth, hosted by Virginia Prescott.

I love her voice and how she interacts with her guests - she always sounds sunny and I love hearing her voice during the day.

As luck would have it, my wife Sara created and organized a Storytelling Festival at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in April of 2017, and she got Virginia to host the event.

I immediately knew I wanted to find a way to get a quick portrait of Virginia, so I asked Sara if she'd communicate with Virginia and ask if I could grab a few portraits of her after the event ended.

Absolutely.

I didn't want to take up much of Virginia's time, so I kept gear to a minimum; photographing her with my Fuji X100s and I slapped a speedlight in a Saberstrip.  Easy to carry and very minimal.

my pal Marissa holds the Saberstrip up and over the subjects as they sit on the stairwell at NHIA

my pal Marissa holds the Saberstrip up and over the subjects as they sit on the stairwell at NHIA

I setup quickly on the stairwell and did a quick pre-light with a stand-in and found my exposure.  I knew I wanted these shots to be in black & white.  Virginia came down and I got a few portraits of her alone, and then took a few shots of her with Sara and some other NHIA employees and students.

Virginia Prescott • NHPR

She was awesome and extremely charming.  I gotta admit that I've had a little crush on her for a while, and meeting her in person just made that crush even bigger.  She has a great personality and humor and she can instantly establish a rapport with anyone - it isn't hard to see why so many people like her.

I would love to be able to photograph her again with more time allocated to it.  I'm hoping she'll be up to it, and whenever she is ready, so am I.

Thanks, Virginia.  You kick ass.  Thanks for being awesome.

Lacy Kay • Musician Session for Hot Mess

Lacy Kay • Musician Session for Hot Mess

I've been developing a relationship with the band HOT MESS over the months, and they were so happy with the work we've done so far that when a new member of the band came into the mix, Jason, the head of Hot Mess, contacted me asking if we could create some new head shots for Lacy, but he also needed one other thing: he wanted a photograph of Lacy in the style of the group shot we did months ago so that she could be inserted into the group photo we had taken months before.

Let's give it a shot.

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Mike • Head Shot/Business Portrait Session

Mike • Head Shot/Business Portrait Session

Mike came to me by way of my buddy Jeff.  Mike was looking for an updated Head Shot/Business Portrait, and he met me here at the studio one late afternoon, along with Jeff, and we chatted and make some photographs and when we were done we all went out to grab some good pizza and have some laughs.  This was an exceptionally easy session, because look at Mike - so classy.  Handsome and so easy on the camera.  he just fell right into place during this session.  Almost effortless.

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Tim Paul Weiner

Tim Paul Weiner

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Tim Paul Weiner.

Tim is a bass player, employee of Berklee College of Music, and member of HOT MESS.  Remember them?  We also have a mutual friend, Elise MacDonald, former owner of Studio 99, who introduced us.  Tim liked working with me when we created some images for Hot Mess, so he booked a solo session with me.  He needed images for a revamped website.  I love working with musicians, and with Tim, it was so easy since we had already worked on the Hot Mess session together.

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Strength and Power

Headshots • Client Stories

There is a lot of photography that I don't get to share sometimes that is done for larger companies and corporations.  That is just the nature of the beast.

But I did want to share this image, which I shot back in March of 2016.  It was for a very large company who had  hired me to photograph some of their clients on white, to match up with some video work another company down the hall from me was producing on the same day with the same clients.  These were portraits of survivors of trauma or sickness in one form or another.

When this gorgeous woman stood in front of my camera, she kinda took my breath away; she was really tall, towering over me, and she had this incredible jawline (I have a thing for jawlines - I have a weak chin which is why I have a beard: to cover it up), and as I had her stand straight and look directly at me, there was great strength and power coming from her.  You could feel it.  It was remarkable.

She nailed this in like two shots.  Some people are natural in front of cameras.  Look at that jawline.  Look how the light from the background traces the outline of her jaw.  Crazy powerful.  Crazy strength.  I love this portrait in black & white.  Being exposed to people like this, for however long or shot, is partly why I love photography.

Working on not being afraid to ask: An Introduction

Growing up I was very shy.  I had a hard time approaching people I didn't know.  I couldn't even walk up to the counter at a McDonald's to order food.  It was pretty bad. Once I got into high school though, I discovered that if I made people laugh, I felt more relaxed around strangers.  In my weird logistical thinking, getting their attention and making them laugh somehow made is so they were easier to interact with.

After graduating high school, I spent my 20's working in various record stores and video game shops.  Working in customer-service showed me very quickly that you have to be able to talk to people to handle their requests and needs.  With a simple smile and a genuine conveyance of friendliness, I was able to interact with people better.

When I got out of college and decided that I wanted to try to live a life as a portrait photographer, any sense of shyness needed to be completely destroyed.  Photography, for me, is about interacting with the person in front of the camera.  Sometimes it's more important than actually taking the photographs.  People aren't used to be in front of a camera.  They aren't used to lights and strobes and all this equipment surrounding them.  Then you have someone with a camera mashed against their face telling them to look up, or down, or to the side, or close their eyes, etc.  It doesn't feel natural.

Being able to make someone feel relaxed is imperative.  If they don't feel relaxed or at ease, you'll see it in the photographs.

Over the years I think I've been able to make almost all of the people I've ever photographed comfortable.  The biggest advice I would have is to simply be yourself.  Just be yourself.  Share your story.  Share your passions.  Share why you do what you do, and why you are into the things you are into.  And listen.  Listen to their stories.  People love to be listened to.  And be friendly, and be confident in what you do.  Most of the time, a client has no idea what all this stuff does that you are placing around them.  Talk with them through the shoot; explain what you are doing and what each change does.  Show them that you know what you are doing.  And keep them talking.  I tell my clients that we'll probably spend just as much time with the camera down and me chatting with them as we'll be shooting.  It's an organic process and takes time to get to the shots you want.  But to do that you have to be able to talk to someone, to keep a discussion flowing. Most importantly: be nice.

I'm digressing.  Back on track:

Earlier this year I promised that I'd swallow my fears and I'd start reaching out to people whom I would love to photograph.  Musicians. Actors. Artists. People.  People who have affected me in some way over the last 40 years of my life.  I know some of them probably won't be a possibility, but the biggest thing for me is just taking that first step and asking.  Telling them who I am, telling them my story, and then asking if I could take a portrait of them.  It's worth a shot, and the most they can say is no.

This is hopefully going to be a new series of blog posts here on the website that I'm going to call "Don't Be Afraid To Ask".  You can't meet the people you admire unless you ask, right?

 

 

 

Reverend Sam Seah

Reverend Sam Seah

I've known my buddy Dave for a long time.  He's become a very close friend, and I love hanging around with him and talking geek-stuff and recording podcasts and everything.  His father, who lives in Taiwan, has visited Dave twice in the years that I've known him, and on his second visit last year, Dave hired me to make some portraits of his father.

I was going to write about a fantastic evening and dinner at Dave's and then how his father, Ingram (though he also likes to be called Sam) played some music for us and how we talked for hours about his home and his life working in missionaries in both Taiwan and the US, but instead I just want to focus on the image above, and how much I love the look of intensity on his face while he played for us.

You can see a few more images here, but I wanted to just concentrate on this image.  I love it.  I feel it's a beautiful portrait, and I'm so glad I finally got to meet the father of a very good friend.

Hana Kahn

Hana Kahn

I met musician/photographer/blogger Hana Kahn through my friend/photographer Kathleen Frank who recently moved to NH from Florida.  We've been itching to get together and mess around and spend the afternoon making photographs, and, finally one lovely August afternoon we made it happen.

Hana Kahn

I didn't shoot a whole lot - I enjoyed helping Kathleen out with her images and just enjoying the creative process and the weather.  I brought along my Hasselblad & grabbed a Polaroid (image above) and grabbed a few shots with the Petzval.

Hana Kahn
Hana Kahn

My favorite shot from the session, though, would have to be the first image up top (and here it is again:)

Hana Kahn

This was taken using my tasty little $12 prism I bought off of Amazon.  I love how having the prism in front of the lens, twisted in the right way, gives off that gorgeous, milky out of focus bottom.  It's picking up the light and refracting it through the prism and creates what looks like this gorgeous foreground element that I'm shooting through.  I love her pose and the colors and the background.  It's a very atmospheric portrait.

It was a really fantastic afternoon, and I wish I could have afternoons like that more often.  Thanks to Hana and Kathleen for making it possible. Go visit Kathleen's website and Hana's as well.  Thanks ladies for a fantastic afternoon.

Michael Bellar & AS/IS Ensemble

Michael Bellar & AS/IS Ensemble

Over the years I've developed a friendship with Michael Bellar and the boys of the AS/IS Ensemble.  I've shot them a few times now.  I took some images for Michael the last time they played in Nashua for their upcoming album.  The album is still being prepared, but I wanted to share some of these with you all.

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