Haha...made a spelling mistake on the last one so here I go again:Hey Ian. I like how your watermark is barely noticeable. I keep debating on whether or not to use one here. When you approach people to photograph in Butte, do you just explain that you are working on a project to document the town? Are they all receptive?
I try to take the Alex Soth approach, get to know someone a little before you pull the camera out. Generally, the people I have met in Butte have been extremely friendly and keen to chat abouth their lives. Usually I can find some common interest to talk about. For this portrait, I met Frankies dad first and we chatted for about half an hour (about Frankies long list of achievements and injuries) before I asked anything about taking a photo. For me, this is the most enjoyable thing about portrait photography that I have just recently come to realize. You really get to know something about a person that you never would have otherwise (if the intent of making a portrait was not there). I do not say I that am doing a documentary project about Butte (I am not sure I see it as a "documentary project"), but rather ask if they would be willing to let me "make" a portrait with them. For me it is important to approach it with the idea of "making" a portrait and not"taking" a portrait. The camera is inherently powerful, and I think it becomes less so in these situations if there is collaboration at some level. All that said, I still find it very difficult to ask people if we can make the photo.
Thanks, Ian. I guess "document" was the wrong choice of word, but I was just curious as to how you explained yourself. I, too, try to take that approach but all of my subjects are planned. I LOVE hearing their stories and getting to know them before I photograph. I've wondered about how to approach random people. After you make the portrait, do you then get the model release with their address so you can mail a copy? I have been diligently collecting model releases since Kyle's class last fall.On another note, do you find that you take more than your normal three exposures now that you are digital? I remember your telling me one time that you just take three exposures and that's it.
I should be better about those model releases. When I go to South Africa I have been diligent, but less so in Butte.Let's see, I think I made 5 frames for the image of Frankie, so a few more than I usually make with the 4x5, but certainly not over the top. I have also been hand-holding which is no good. For me I am not happy when the camera creates a barrier between myself and the model. The camera is very heavy and I have been using 50 ISO (dynamic range starts dropping as you increase ISO). So the image that I posted here has very slight camera shake from using 1/60. Still getting used to the it. It is very different from what I am used to. So far I have made up to a 30" print that looks great, but am having trouble pushing it to 40".
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