Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Raise more questions than you answer, part of Narrative Portraiture: On Location in New York with Rodney Smith.
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Rodney Smith: I was shooting for a client, which I do not remember whom, and we were on a…roof in Manhattan, and I was shooting other pictures. But I happened to notice this…little, teeny precipice over to the side. And I asked the model whether he'd be…comfortable standing there for a minute. And it was dangerous, but it wasn't as…dangerous as it looked, because there was another ledge below him, but it was…still a little scary.…And he said, "I'll do it, you know, for a minute or so."…So I did it, so I just went over with him, pulled him aside, took this picture…and shot it, probably over a minute or two.…
Now when I was taking--this is where we are at the point--…when I was taking that picture, I had no sense that this person would be…leaping to his death.…My idea was, he was leaping from one building to another.…It was much more sort of positive.…Chris Orwig: We each have our own stories, and as a result, we interpret other stories in…others' photographs differently, like this one here.…Is this guy delusional, or is he a dreamer?…
The course begins with a wide-ranging conversation between Chris and Rodney, during which they discuss Rodney's work, his approach to photography and models, his love of film and of black and white, and the importance of creating photographs that both ask questions and tell stories. Next, Chris tours Rodney Smith's studio, including the darkroom, to get more familiar with Rodney before photographing him.
Chris then takes a series of portraits of Rodney. Along the way, he reviews his gear choices and the compositional decisions he makes, and discusses the importance of committing photographs to paper, particularly in today's digital age. Finally, Chris reviews the images and shares some insights from his conversation with Rodney.