My Hungry Heart

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

See local

Posted by shermancharles on March 19, 2008

© Rachel Mackow

I went to a local photography gallery in Hopewell, NJ [http://www.gallery14.com] this past weekend to see some work by a few local photographers. While there I grabbed a postcard off a stack lying on a small corner table. The front cover was a beautiful black and white photograph of a forest setting. Wonderful, image titled – “Black cohosh in Fog”. Flipping the card over I learned that it was taken in The Sourland Mountain Reserve in Somerset county. A short 10 minute drive from my house. That evening I logged on to the photographer’s website to view the rest of the portfolio from that series. I was really amazed. I have hiked through the Sourlands often, and always thought it would be an interesting place to photograph but never go around to it. Also I never decided on the approach that I would take. I must say that I was very inspired by what the photographer, Rachel Mackow, had done.

So the moral of this story is to see local. Look around you. Some of us sit around wishing we could travel to exotic locations, and photograph interesting places and people. We may find ourselves very surprised at what lies right around our corner. Develop your creativity to be inspired by the commonplace and find the stories that are right underneath your nose.

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Posted in Creativity, Inspiration, NJ, People, Photographer, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The eyes

Posted by shermancharles on March 7, 2008

Portrait of Saudia

© Sherman Charles

I took this photograph two summer ago. I love her eyes.

Posted in B&W, People, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

People on Portraiture

Posted by shermancharles on February 6, 2008

© Sherman Charles

A great post on the Conscientious blog asking the question – “What makes a great portrait?” The question was sent out to some in the photography community.

In every portrait session I do I learn something new about portraiture. I am not sure if I am “making” a portrait. Sure I am determining lighting, camera angle, camera settings and lens, all things that determine the resulting image and how that image will be interpreted. A portrait with a shallow depth of field will have a different feel that one that is sharp to infinity. So my choice in these factors is a direct statement on my intent. Now the much more difficult and unpredictable variable is the portrait sitter. The person who is having her portrait taken is really the wildcard in the whole equation. Is she in a good mood, a soulful mood, playful, angry, depressed, overjoyed – and if she is anyone of those things is she going to portray the exact opposite when siting before the camera. Is she honest in what she is portraying? Do I, the photographer, care?

If she is happy can/will she portray someone who is sad? If she is sad, can she portray someone who is happy? Of course this happens all the time. Shuffle through the months entertainment magazines and you will see any number of made-up, stylized portraits of celebrities and socialites that may have very little of that celebrity’s true personality. The photographer and team are hired to photograph with a specific look being the result. Selling more magazines, promoting movie/tv show/record/product. This takes us back to the subject of intent. In my eyes, a portrait is a battle of intents, the photographer vs. the sitter. In those magazines I see more the intent of the art director/creative director/publicist/photographer than anything else. So are those really portraits if they are more sales pitches than anything else? It is confusing. I find myself confused even as I write.

Of course we have the cases where the intent of the sitter wins and the photographer does not think it is a good photograph. Perhaps the person being photographed is not conveying any real emotion, feeling, personality – anything that will make a photograph interesting. However it is a portrait. It is capturing an individual in the way they are. But why isn’t it good? Is that what a portrait is supposed to do? Capture someone in the way they are?
I am not quite sure. But I have seen plenty of good portraits. And they all have that “thing”. I think it’s that intangible thing that escapes definition or description. Like some others said in the Conscientious posting, it’s that thing you see when you see it. You don’t quite know why but it touches you somewhere and you say – “that’s fantastic”.

For myself I think a portrait that I like is more a portrait of me than that of the one who was photographed. I think it speaks more to who I am, my likes and dislikes, my mood and personality, my sense of who I am and what is good. It’s like listening to a song when you’re in a certain mood. Or hearing an old song from years past when you were a much different person than you are now. You remember who you were when that song came out. So you liking that song then speaks of who you were then. Conversely how you feel about it now speaks of who you are today.

Posted in B&W, People, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Recent …

Posted by shermancharles on January 1, 2008

Three recent portraits


© Sherman Charles


© Sherman Charles


© Sherman Charles

Posted in B&W, People, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Portraiture

Posted by shermancharles on December 6, 2007

© Sherman Charles

I love portraiture. I love images that capture a sense of a person. A mood, a feeling. When photographing people I tend to “go in”, focusing on the face and and torso. Not to say I do not do environmental portraiture. I really enjoy it. I take any opportunity I can to do such portraits. As circumstances and opportunities have it, the close-in stuff is what I am doing right now.

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Fazal Sheikh Exhibit

Posted by shermancharles on October 29, 2007

© Fazal Sheikh

If you’re near Princeton University anytime soon check out the exhibition of Fazal Sheikh’s work at the Princeton Art Museum . Incredibly sad, tragic and utterly beautiful at the same time.

Read more here

Posted in Inspiration, People, photograph, Photographer, Portrait, Portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Isabel Munoz

Posted by shermancharles on October 17, 2007

Photo is a French photography magazine that I peruse through and sometimes purchase at my local b&n. My French is pretty terrible so I can’t read/understand most of the content. The photographs however: wow. Amazing. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that it usually publishes images that would not normally be published in an American mag.

This issue highlighted a project by the Spanish photographer Isabel Munoz . Isabel is a very talented artist whose work I would best describe as fine art reportage. Her projects range from photographing Capoeira dancers of Brazil to remote tribes of southern Ethiopia. Her images have a strong, intimate detail to them. They contain a richness and presence that is hard to overlook. For this current Photo issue, she photographed members of the Mara Salvatrucha gangs (see cover image).

For more insight into her work read this article from lens culture. On the very bottom of that page is an audio link where she describes her working process.

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Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Posted by shermancharles on September 27, 2007

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© Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

I was introduced to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders at my local Barns & Noble. During one of my frequent visits to the Art & Photography sections I came across his book of portraiture,
Face to Face . I was amazed at the elegant beauty of his images. Unlike so many of his contemporaries his portraits are not overly stylized. His subjects are not doing anything weird or animated. There is the sense that his portraits are more so of his subjects that of himself. To me there is a natural intimacy in his work, the sense that you are looking at an individual, a human being, and not simply a fabrication of publicist, stylist, make-up artist, creative director..and so on.

The portrait above is of Jake Schick, an American soldier injured while serving in Iraq. Timothy photographed 13 soldiers for a HBO documentary – “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq”.

“This documentary surveys the physical and emotional cost of war through soldiers’ memories of the day in Iraq when they survived near-fatal wounds. In a war that has left 22,000 wounded, with more than half the injuries too severe to permit a return to active military service, the documentary looks at the advances in military medicine that allow soldiers to return home and celebrate what they call their “alive day.” James Gandolfini conducts interviews in which the soldiers share their feelings on their future, their severe disabilities and their devotion to the country.”

Read more on Timothy’s website

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Making portraits

Posted by shermancharles on September 21, 2007


© Sherman Charles

Jeff Singer made an interesting post on his blog about what a photographer’s images say about him/her. For Jeff, specifically, how he tries to make his portraits subjects look cool.

That immediately got me thinking how do I try to make my subjects look in a portrait. When I am photographing someone what would make me happiest? Do I want them wild and crazy? Maybe that aloof, disconnected look? (think contemporary fine art).
Quirky? I really thought about this because there are definitely ways that I would prefer my sitter to be. Namely relaxed, a little contemplative – what I call the “soulful look”. Ultimately themselves. But maybe themselves make for a not so interesting picture (terrible thing to say). I sometimes say, “if you can’t be who you are….be who you want to be..” If that makes any real bloody sense. Ultimately a portrait really says just as much about the photographer as the person. As the photographer you are imposing your own vision, your sense of a person, onto that person. It’s similar to meeting someone new, someone you like and to whom you are really drawn. Without really knowing that person, are we attracted to who that person truly is – or who we would like/hope them to be.

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