Today I am sharing portraits straight from my heart mixed with a little geekspeak and storytelling.
The Boys and girls club of Asheville came to me looking for ideas for an upcoming fundraiser. They had a beautiful location at The Homewood but the walls would be barren of personality needed to reflect the importance of the evening. I thought it would be a great idea to have some portraits of some of the kids surrounding the room. At the moment that was all I had. They loved the idea and left it with me with a full creative license. After sitting on it a while I decided to up the stakes and print some really big prints. Like 5 or 6 feet tall. By the time the kids arrived at my studio a month or two later I had decided I was going to photograph 8 fun-loving, squirming, fidgety kids with my 8×10 camera loaded with B&W paper instead of film.
For those of you that don’t have a clue of what I am talking about, or photo geeks that wanna geek out on this, I was going to shoot this on a 8″x10″ camera with a lens from the very early 1900’s and instead of film I used B&W enlarging paper which is much much less sensitive to light than film. That means longer exposures or more light. I went with the more light approach, remember those fidgety kids? A ring flash on the front for fill and a beauty dish up high for the main. After processing the paper (with a secret formula to get that beautiful tonal range…) I started the process of colorizing each B&W image and digitizing for print. Enough geek speak for now…
So, I only had 1 hour to shoot 8 kids and it took about 10 minutes to set up each shot. I’m no mathematician but I think I was going to be begging for a little extra time. I ended up making 2 images of each kid. I wanted them to be soulful powerful images that leave you with so many questions unanswered. I wanted the viewer to step into my shoes. I only had a brief encounter with each kid and really knew nothing about them even after they left me. But I could see it all through their eyes and hoped I could convey that through the images. Like I said before, I ended up printing all of these on a backlit silk at 5 feet tall. To see them hanging in their home and seeing the expression that they pulled from the viewer made me realize just how powerful a photograph can be. The fundraiser was a great success and ended up bringing in almost $34,000 that night. What a great organization to be involved with and I cant wait to see what we can do next year!