Funny Face

In talking with Jon, now that he’s picked up a camera, the differences in what we see through the lens is so fascinating to me.  I know he’s mentioned this already, but his personal taste in photography is much different than mine.  While he’s more than content to follow around animals and inanimate objects, I don’t think I’ve snapped a single picture this year that didn’t have a person in it somewhere, even if just a blur in the background.  Even when I go out to take test shots of a particular location, I bring along my daughter/assistant so that she can get in every shot.

This week I got a special surprise in the mail from Jon; a Prime portrait lens he purchased for himself before he decided that taking pictures of people was not his forte.  Portraits have not been something I’ve done a lot of lately.  While I do take a number of family portraits, my love lies in lifestyle photography and so my favorite pictures have always been the ones that have a more candid nature; as if the camera was not there.  Still, portraits are something I have wanted to practice and develop a skill for and so this week I’ve found myself getting in close and trying to frame interesting portraits with my family.

What I’ve always loved about portraits is the way they can expose the inner person without any gusto; nothing but a face.  They don’t rely on staging and props to create and or tell a story; they rely solely on the subject.  There are no dramatics (something I’ve admitted recently to loving a great deal) and no manipulation.  It’s just a single subject in a frame and whatever emotion lies behind their eyes.

Recently I spoke a little about Platon because of his participation in Netflix’s astonishing Abstract; but his process with regards to working with his subjects is remarkably enlightening.  His whole goal is to coax honesty out of them, and the intimacy he creates within his studio, sitting so close and engaging them in such fluid conversation while he clicks his camera, is something I’ve tried to emulate in my photography sessions.  The results feel more honest and free.

Here are just a few of my favorite shots from my portrait practices this week.  I’m completely obsessed with this lens right now and can’t wait to use it more!

Same Time, Next Year

Growing up, vacation WAS Disney World.  My family made the trip every summer.  I can still remember the excitement that rippled through my young body as we strapped into our seats on the plane and took off.  While in my adulthood I love variety in my vacation destinations (whenever it is that I manage a vacation), I have to admit that there was a comfort in the stability of a routine vacation.  Sharing it with my entire family, at times even including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, didn’t hurt the comfort feeling!

That, and it was Disney World; a place I still frequent regularly.

This past week I had the pleasure of meeting a family who have been vacationing together here in Siesta Key for 30 years.  What started as a father and mother and their children has now turned into three generations; parents, children and grandchildren.  Their lodging has changed, due to their growing family, but the destination is the same; and what better destination than beautiful Siesta Key!

They contacted me, wanting to commemorate their favorite vacation spot with family pictures on the beach, and when I saw the beautiful courtyard attached to their hotel, I had to snag a few pictures there as well.  The beaming faces of joy on the family as they were surrounded by their loved ones were such beautiful things to see.

While I know it’s not a traditional portrait, considering that not everyone is looking, I loved this particular shot so much because at the center you have a grandfather and grandmother giving so much gleeful attention to their giggling grandson.  I just love the feeling this picture gives me; the story it tells.

If you’re considering a trip to the Sarasota, FL area, why not document your vacation with family pictures!  Visit our Scheduling Page for more information.

Radio Days

I was 15.  I was standing with a buddy of mine in a magical place called CD Warehouse surrounded by rows and rows of used CDs waiting for me to pluck them out and turn them on.  Up by the register was a small display with a stack of CDs in white sleeves with the words ‘New Discoveries’ printed on them.  It was free, and I loved discovering new music, so as I paid for my albums I snatched up the white sleeve and hopped into my buddy’s truck, promptly popping it into the CD player.

What we heard next was Linkin Park’s One Step Closer.

A few months later I remember being in my bedroom with some kids my parents wanted me to befriend.  They were visiting with family and didn’t know the area and so my mom offered to have me show them around.  One of the kids picked up my electric guitar and started strumming and went right into playing One Step Closer.  The rest of the day was spent in my car, bumping Hybrid Theory as we cruised the beach.

Around that same time my sister started dating a kid that I personally didn’t get along with.  It’s a long story, but girlfriends and ex-girlfriends tend to separate would-be friends.  Anyways, due to my sister’s pleading I tried to befriend him and his friends, who happened to be starting a band (doesn’t every teenager attempt this at one point?).  I sat in his basement and watched him and his friends start playing Linkin Park’s A Place for My Head and next thing I know I’m grabbing the mic and singing (and screaming) every one of Chester Bennington’s lines.

In case you’re wondering, we did become friends.

These are just a few, but many of my teenage memories are laced with the sounds of Linkin Park, or are wrapped around their music in some way, shape or form (like literally sneaking out of the house at midnight to drive to Walmart and get a copy of Meteora as they were placing them on the shelves).  While I personally haven’t loved every album they’ve produced or particularly cared for the trajectory of their career, there is so much nostalgia and warm feelings associated with the band as a whole for me that the tragic loss of Chester Bennington this past week has hit me in the gut.

While Chester has been vocal about his issues for years, this is still a major shock and a deeply saddening reality; sobering proof that we are all human and we all suffer from things others either don’t know about or simply can’t help us with.  My heart goes out to his family, especially his wife and six children.  I can’t begin to imagine clinical depression, but I certainly empathize with those left in the wake of what it caused.

And please understand that your life IS worth it and people want to help.

I’ve decided to close out my weekly playlist with my favorite song off of Linkin Park’s recent album, Sorry for Now, a song that cuts just a little bit deeper now.

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