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In the Narrative Portraiture series, photographer and teacher Chris Orwig explores how to use location and natural light to create images that tell stories about their subjects and produce a strong emotional connection.
In this installment, Chris travels to Texas to visit two artists: David Cargill, a Beaumont sculptor who works with bronze and marble, and Charles Stagg, another Beaumont sculptor but in recycled and found materials. Chris takes their portraits and spends time discussing the composition and lighting in each session.
Chris also reviews the photos he took, and discusses the gear he used and the lessons he learned while visiting with and photographing these artists.
Before we review the photographs that were captured of Charles Stag, I thought it will be helpful to talk a little bit about the gear that was used and why I chose it. Well, for starters, I knew that I was going into something that was going to be completely different and so I wanted to cover my bases, so to speak. So the cameras that I chose were two to 35mm camera bodies, both Canon 5D Mark IIs, two different lenses, and also a film camera. With the Canon 5D Mark IIs, the lenses I chose were 50 mm and a 16-35, and as you've heard me say before, the 50 mm, it's a normal perspective.
It keeps you close the subject. I wanted to have that connection. I wanted to get to know him right. Then I have the 16-35. I also want to take in the scene, and I am so glad that I had that lens, because it allowed me to step back and just capture a little bit more, not always being so close, because what I hadn't realized is while that structure was a bit of a maze, it also was pretty small. I couldn't necessarily back up. A few times I found myself backing up into a wall because I couldn't get back far enough with the 50. That's where that 16-35 really helped out.
And then the film camera, this film camera, the Hasselblad with an 80 mm lens, is really a normal perspective. I like that one because it slows me down, and I think a lot of times when you photograph someone and you slow down, they slow down as well. Well, in the next movie we will review the photographs that were captured with these cameras and you'll see how each different camera and lens helped me create different types of pictures which ultimately helped me tell different types of stories.
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