The older I get, it seems, the more simpler I want things to be. From getting rid of most of my stuff to how I approach making portraits. I just want there to be as little decision making as possible. I’ve gone from meticulously planning shoots with sketches, lighting diagrams, and cases worth of gear to basically just planning two things: who and where.
In this case, the who is Julia Rae, a young photographer and model from The Hammer. This was our first formal shoot, and she is by far one of the most easy going people I have worked with. I don’t try to force concepts or poses on my subjects. I simple focus on conversing with them, and let them lead the mood of the shoot. It’s during these conversations I get to learn interesting things about the subject, such as Julia loves playing Mario Kart – specifically on the N64, one of her favorite authors is Chuck Palahniuk, and she recently lost the “Huck Farper” pin that she wore on her bag.
The where in these photographs is Hamilton Beach, specifically just off East Port Drive. It’s a one street residential neighborhood that seems to straddle an isthmus that divides the bay from Lake Ontario. Along the lake side, there is a public beach with a string of high voltage pylons running parallel to the shore. Everything in Steel City is industrialized, even the beaches. The warm weather had turned cool, a rain storm was about to blow in, and the setting sun was muted by the darkening clouds.
I brought three cameras, the Fuji X100T, the Nikon F100, and a Nikon DSLR. My intention was shoot only with the F100 (and Portra 400 film). However, I have a bad habit of procrastinating when it comes to sending film into the lab. This is also compounded by my ongoing search to find a lab I like. I thought I’d take a few photos with my DSLR, just because this was my second time making Julia’s photograph and she still hadn’t seen any results. However, almost immediately, the DSLR bored me. I just don’t like it. After about an hour, I found I was shooting almost exclusively with the X100T.
I am still getting used to using the X100T as a portrait camera. However, I have been trying to make the portraits I take with them look as candid as possible. The technique I used, which I first tried with Craig Scarr, was simply having the subject walk with me while we continued to converse. I set the X100T to aperture priority and turned the flash on. I then just take “snap shots” while we walk (me usually walking backwards). I like the early results of this gear-technique combination, but still feel I need more practice at it. In the mean time, I have some rolls of Portra to mail out!