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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.
So the first part of the photo shoot was a wrap. There were some laughing and chitchatting. It was really fun. We ended on a high note. Yet I knew that there was more that I needed to do or at least more that I wanted to do. You may remember that I had this hidden agenda. I wanted to see if I could get Keith to be my photography coach, my photography mentor, to come alongside me, and help me make some pictures. Well, first, I obviously knew that I needed to get my photographs out of the way, so to speak. So I had done that. That was all wrapped up.
So next, what we did is we went into the workshop. What a fascinating space! So much to look at, so many tools and details and sculptures. Man! That was really interesting. Inside of that space, I asked Keith if he would coach me, if he would come alongside me. And that was a really interesting experience. He talked a little bit about how he works with subjects, how he walks up to them and he touches them and he tries to move them into position. He talked a bit about what he thinks about, how he sees a scene.
And again in this case, I was just putting myself in the role of being a student. I wanted to absorb from Keith how he would take pictures in the setting. It was really fun to do that. It also required that I let go of control, so to speak. Whenever you make images, you have your own way of doing things, your own voice, but sometimes you have to get outside of that in order to grow and to learn. That was definitely a growing experience for me. I really enjoyed it. There inside of that space, we made a few frames of David, in the midst of his sculptures, also touching them, or working on them, and I just tried to capture a bit of that action within that space.
One of the things that I walk away from from a shoot like this is just the importance of connecting with people, and so often by making that connection, it can lead to creating better photographs.
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