100 Strangers Project, Set 11

Six more this session. All couples this time.

Chris, Stranger 75. The old Canon AE-1 camera slung around his neck made him easy to spot. And as a fellow photographer, I knew he'd say yes. I shot wide, to make sure I got the old SLR in the photo. His lady, Nadia, Stranger 76, was visiting from south of the border (so I switched to Spanish). She had some experience with modeling, as you can tell from the portrait. Note the head tilt, the chin pulled down and in a bit, the subtle squint (or a Peter Hurley "squinch" if you prefer), and of course, the pouty lip. Classic. I asked her, after the shot, about my Spanish. She said my accent wasn't too bad.

Kelly and Austin, Strangers 77 and 78, visiting from Los Angeles (If I remember correctly). Kelly gave me a model-y look too. I think Nick gave her "sultry" as a direction. I told her she nailed it. For Austin's portrait, I ended up somewhere between split-light and Rembrandt. Where he was standing, (which was just a few steps from where I had just shot Kelly's portrait), he was right on the edge of a shadow, so there's a very subtle fall-off of light from top to bottom. I don't know what this lighting setup is called, but it's a great way to do a dramatic portrait, and it looked good on Austin. Now I need to figure out how to reproduce it.

Chloe and Gonzalo, Strangers 79 and 80. I spotted them sitting in the grass with their very well-behaved dog (Gonzalo trains dogs for a living, so that makes sense; he also bar-tends). Chloe's tattoo caught my attention. It was so prominent, I knew it had to be featured in the portrait, so I went for a wider shot. But the light was changing. Clouds were moving in. My exposure was changing minute to minute and I couldn't find good light and a good angle for Chloe. I changed the setup two or three times as clouds covered up the sun, dimming the light, and then parted, brightening up again. Thankfully, Chloe stayed with me, and I was able to keep on shooting. She was patient with me, and just rolled with it, and I'm glad she did, because this portrait ended up being one of my favorites from the entire set of 100. The expression on her face, and the pose; I didn't direct any of that. She just fell into it naturally. I just had to click the shutter.

Wrapped things up with Gonzalo, Stranger 80. By this time, the sun was setting and the light was dimming fast. I used what little light remained and tried for a split-light, but it wasn't enough for a really hard shadow. But that was ok. I got a decent portrait, just in time, and that was it for this session.

What's ironic about this session is that I wasn't feeling much like shooting that day. I'd had a bad week and wasn't in the best of moods. I would've been ok with skipping this weekend, and just holding for the next, but I'm glad I didn't because I ended up with one my favorite shots from the whole project (Chloe).

Anyway, as of last week, all 100 edits are complete. Now I'm just working on writing the accompanying blogs. I also loaded all 100 portraits into my iPad. I only wish I could show them to everyone like this, using the retina display, because the contrast and clarity is outstanding. And it's great to see all 100 portraits collected together in one place, as a complete set, as I had always envisioned they'd be viewed.

Unfortunately, for viewing online, some sacrifices have to be made. I worked really hard on these portraits and I'm trying now to figure out the optimal size and resolution to use to get the portraits looking their best, large enough so that the details can be appreciated, but without making a file so big, it takes a long time to load. I hope to have the full gallery on my website in the next couple weeks.