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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.
All right, I have another photographic assignment for you, and it has to do with something that Keith once told me, and I think he said this well. He said, "Chris never underestimate the creative inspiration that you can gain from someone who is eclectic or eccentric, someone who approaches life from a different perspective." And what I want you to do is to find someone like that and then make some pictures of them. In other words, let's say that your passion, your hobby is golf. Why not photograph someone whose passion and hobby is making model airplanes. Or maybe you're a professional artist. Why not photograph a professional dancer? In other words, photograph someone whose political perspectives, whose beliefs or hobbies or approach to life is different than your own.
And what I want you to do is to meet up with that person. With camera in hand, try to tell a bit of their story. And as you make their portrait, this isn't your chance to critique or judge. In other words, let go of your own opinions, just for a moment. Because one of the things that I've discovered is that the camera does something unique. Somehow it helps us to let down our guard, let down our defenses, and sometimes it can be a bit more honest. And what I've found is that by photographing people who are different than myself, I have so much to learn.
So as make these pictures--seek to try to create let's say 12-- always be thinking about, well what can I learn from this person? What can I gain? Because what I've found is that the camera, it's a powerful tool. It's a great tool for a change, and what it can do is it can help you grow. You can not only create some fascinating portraits of someone who is different than yourself, but it can also change the way that you perceive the world, and ultimately it can help you become more creative and hopefully create a different type of photograph.
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