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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 wrap up our time with David Cargill, I thought it would be interesting to reflect upon a few lessons that I learned. You know whenever I have an experience like this, I almost always spend some time in my journal, writing down thoughts, ideas and notes, lessons that I've learned. The lessons that I've learned have to do with three different pictures. I want to share those with you. You know, this first picture, it reminds me of the importance of paying attention to details. This was an important picture for me because somehow it set the course. It set the trajectory for the entire shoot.
So this picture, again, it stands perhaps as a way to remind me of paying attention to those small details. Well, the next lesson that I learned has to do with this picture. This picture is really well composed. I was thinking about all of the different parts and pieces. It makes me think about what Keith said. He said, "Be ruthless with space." I want to have everything in the exact right spot, even the separation of the head and the apple. I had to lower my camera position so it was in just the right spot.
And this particular picture reminds me of the importance of taking the time to compose. Now the last lesson that I learned here has to do with this photograph. In a sense, this photograph, it stands as a token, a token which reminds me that sometimes the best portraits, well, they're not straightforward or direct. In other words, so often when I'm trying to capture a portrait I go for the face, for the person, something which is really direct. And many times it pays off to be a bit more poetic.
Think about it. Well what does a poet do? A poet says more with less. And if ever you can say more with less, it can help you create even more powerful frames.
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