People & Portraits

Isabella’s World

Isabella's Nap. Hudson, Florida, 2017
Isabella’s Nap. Hudson, Florida, 2017

 

I recently spent a few days in Florida and had a nice visit with my nephew, his wife, and their one-year-old baby, Isabella (above).

Here are some of my work with their hands…

(My only tools were a hand-held pocket camera, the Sony RX100iv, a black T-shirt, and natural light. Post-processing was through Photoshop and the Silver Efex Pro plugin.)

 

Heather and Joshua. Hudson, Florida, 2017
Heather and Joshua. Hudson, Florida, 2017

 

Joshua's Medals. Hudson, Florida, 2017
Joshua’s Medals. Hudson, Florida, 2017

 

Isabella and Joshua. Hudson, Florida, 2017
Isabella and Joshua. Hudson, Florida, 2017

Sol y Emilio

Emi y Sol, Boda. Mendoza, Argentina, February 18, 2017
Emi y Sol, Boda. Mendoza, Argentina, February 18, 2017

 

Last Saturday was the grand wedding in Mendoza, Argentina–the principal reason we traveled down under to the southern hemisphere.

Felicitaciones, Emilio y Sol!!!

Above you see the novio and novia in a somewhat atypical pose–a pose that I kind of like. Could it be somewhat symbolic of how we all sort of launch ourselves into long-term relationships and, yes, marriage with our eyes metaphorically closed…our hearts bursting with tremendous joy, hope, and expectations–but not really knowing what might be in store for us?

I have to admit that I have stolen the eyes closed idea directly from Cole Thompson and his With Eyes Shut portfolio. Check out those links to see just how effective such portraits can be–very unique work by Cole.

Portraits that Lie? (An Interesting Video)

The camera can and does lie, of course, almost all the time whether we realize it or not. Nearly always, though, it is aided and abetted significantly by the very emotional and unconsciously-biased humanoid operator behind the viewfinder.

The video I have embedded below explores one angle on this phenomena of how the camera can be made to lie–or at least how it can construct parallel visions of reality depending on how certain preconceived notions mix with the personality of the photographer.

In this three-minute clip, six photographers are called in for a portrait session, the subject for all six being the same balding middle-aged man you see in the link. The twist: Each photog is separately told something different about the subject–the man is an ex-con, he is a millionaire, he just saved someone’s life, he is a recovering alcoholic, a psychic, and so on.

The final six prints–which couldn’t have been more different–reveal how each photographer made the camera “tell a lie” about the subject.

Are they really “lies”? Or simply differing perspectives? Food for thought…

For an ongoing online discussion of this video and the idea of cameras as liars, see THIS POST at photo.net.

 

When You Look Closely

Cristo Llorando. Mendoza, Argentina, 2016
Cristo Llorando. Mendoza, Argentina, 2016

 

He (or the Virgin Mary) has appeared on burnt toast, sheets of linen, creases of a drying sock, a landslide, dried wood, a fried egg, and just about everything else you can think of.

Today, while looking for material for my On Women project, I discovered His image on a wall half-hidden among the residues of lost generations of pasted up and ripped down, political, vote-for-me, posters.

It’s amazing what you can find in plain view when you take the time to observe closely.

What does it all mean, Buckwheat?

Wedding Coming Up!

No, not mine–my wife’s eldest daughter, Anna Clara.

Luckily she is doing the smart thing and has hired a professional wedding photographer for the yeowoman’s work.

Spousal unit and I will, however, hang out on the periphery of the sometimes emotional, sometimes frantic, goings on and see what kind of images we might create. We are quite giddily thrilled to leave the actual, more traditional, wedding shots to the pros.

Here are two of my “peripheral photographs” from yesterday’s final bridal dress fitting–not your typical wedding images, I ‘spect…

You, too, can have that beautiful wedding just…”as you dreamed it…”:

Como tu lo soñaste. Santiago, Chile, 2016
Como tu lo soñaste. Santiago, Chile, 2016

 

The bride awaits the seamstress and contemplates the significance of the upcoming epic event as the clock ticks away the minutes:

The Final Fitting. Santiago, Chile, 2016
The Final Fitting. Santiago, Chile, 2016

Bar Fight, Aftermath

BCC Post-Moh's Surgery. Boulder, Colorado, 2015
BCC Post-Moh’s Surgery. Boulder, Colorado, 2015 (Photo: MRFusté)

 

Not really, as I don’t hang out in bars.

This is actually my woeful countenance the day after the removal of a basal cell carcinoma from my schnoz. On the general cancer scale, it’s about the “best” version you can get–very easily treatable by simply digging it out.

Let this be a lesson to you immortal young people: use sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Everything will eventually catch up to you.

Here is my quick iPhone selfie version…even better:

Basal Cell Removal, Day After. Boulder, Colorado, 2015
Basal Cell Removal, Day After. Boulder, Colorado, 2015

The Post-Golden Years

Assisted Living. Tucson, Arizona, 2015
Assisted Living. Tucson, Arizona, 2015

 

So, how many of you are caring for–or have cared for–an aging and infirm parent or relative?

It really makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

In the old days of the small town and village, the extended family and the community was the safety net–grand kids, nieces, nephews, sons and daughters, all banded together to care for the aging great-grandparent or the dying great uncle. Today, that job is often outsourced to assisted living, long term care, skilled nursing, and hospice facilities (that is, if you have insurance or are lucky enough to afford them!). Some of these places are marginal and reek of urine, others are excellent and remind you of a high-end resort…still, no matter the case, it is really impossible to duplicate the kind of loving care a relative would get in a true extended family-community environment.

The price of “progress” in our society, I suppose.

It also seems that we value quantity of life so highly that quality of life too often seems to be out the door and gone. In many, many cases, we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of our own money or of taxpayer money to keep our loved ones alive–often against their wishes, and often in pain–just so they can live a few weeks or a few months longer.

What’s the point? What are we trying to do? Are we doing all this for them, or for us?

And we all say the same thing: I don’t want the last months or years of my life to be like that!

I have even heard this: In terms of end-of-life and hospice-type care, we treat our cats and dogs much better.

Hopefully, as the years go by and it is my generation’s turn to move through the post-golden years and into the beyond, there will be new ways of thinking about the process of decay, pain, death, and dying. Perhaps, in the future, new morals, new ethics, and more humane attitudes (and new laws) will give each of us greater personal freedom to make those very, very difficult choices about the path we wish to take.

Portrait of a Barcelona Master Baker

Daniel, Panadería, #10. Barcelona, 2015
Daniel, Panadería, #10. Barcelona, 2015

 

In some ways this is sort of a working vacation here in Barcelona. My very special spousal unit and I are working on a photography project for a family member who will soon open a healthy food café in the city.

The photo project? Images of the food providers for the new café and close-up images of the individual food products themselves.

This is something very new for us, and slightly out of our comfort zone, which I suppose is a good thing, right? Perhaps at some point I will post some of those pictures to this blog, along with some lessons learned.

In the meantime, the rest o’ this particular story…

As part of the project, a few days ago we visited the panadería, Panes Creativos de Daniel Jordà, where many of the bread products, muffins, rolls, etc. will come from for the new restaurant. Ah, the glorious aroma of lightly browned and golden-crisp baguettes fresh from the oven! And all the different breads (of every shape, size, and recipe) were about as close to grandma’s home baked stuff as you can get–all heavily infused with much love and attention by Daniel, the master baker and owner.

I naturally worked the photos we needed for the project (as above, for example), but I was struck by how wonderful Daniel was as a portrait subject. His passion and pride for his work glittered in his eyes and he wore an aura of peace about him. It would be wonderful to have an environmental portrait session with just him.

And, of course, if you are looking for pretty much the best bread products you can get in Barcelona, look no farther than his modest bakery.

 

It’s all in the eyes. A couple of the big round loaves of his famous bread are in the background…

Daniel, Panadería, #14. Barcelona, 2015
Daniel, Panadería, #14. Barcelona, 2015

 

And a more messiah-like expression…

Daniel, Retrato. Barcelona, 2015
Daniel, Retrato. Barcelona, 2015

Congratulations to Sol and Emilio!

Bride and Groom. Barcelona, 2015
Bride and Groom. Barcelona, 2015

 

Yep, it is my wedding photo. Nope, I still don’t do weddings.

Mostly, anyway. This was sort of a family exception and only to produce a small photo book as a gift.

Luckily this couple was smart enough to hire a real, professional, wedding photographer (two, actually) to capture the critical moments and poses. Hopefully, you will do the same for your wedding–and don’t just go with the $300 photog you found on Craig’s List either!

Congrats, Emilio and Sol!