I’ve been wanting to try some portrait photography, not studio portraits, but less formal ones; the style I’m talking about is often referred to as urban portraits, or casual portraits, or environmental portraits if it includes something about the subject. Until recently, I hadn’t found any willing volunteers.
I found this willing volunteer by sheer happenstance, our paths crossed at the zoo, of all places. She was very engaging, was willing to work with me and gave me all sorts of expressions as well as different angles and perspectives. She wasn’t a bit camera shy. With her prominent nose, I strongly suggested the traditonal 3/4 turn or “Rembrandt pose”, but she insisted this was her “best side”.
In return for her cooperation, she wanted the full “glamour” treatment in post processing — of course, in her mind, it wouldn’t take much given the natural beauty of her face. I brightened her eyes a little, even though I found the horizontal iris quite disturbing; it reminded me of X’s that cartoonists use to signify the demise of a character. There was very little difference between her eyelashes, eyebrows and the rest of her complexion, so I left that alone. I softened up her lips and nose, but the hair on her cheeks and chinny chin chin was impossible to work with. I selectively sharpened the goatee to bring out the luster in its bristles. I thought some selective “spot removal” might be in order to hide or disquise the obscene growth coming out of her head, but she firmly, but politely, suggested that I be more tolerant of what’s considered “beauty” in other cultures.
As part of the modeling agreement, I assured her that I would never post a “before” shot. She wanted all of her published photos to look natural, like her real self. I felt good about getting my first portraiture behind me.
Thought for the day: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.