Faces All Around

Believe it or not, but I really enjoy photographing portraits. You know, that genre of photography where people tend to keep their clothes on and look straight at the camera. Yeah those... I like them and would actually prefer to do them more often than I do.

Part of the reason I don't is because I find them much more difficult than just about any other kind of photograph I can make. Far more difficult than a landscape and a billion times harder than a nude. The challenge is overwhelming at times. Why is that you might ask? Well, because with a portrait I have to confront a person. Simply focusing on lines and light and form isn't good enough. I have to trust a person to be themselves in front of me and I have to trust myself to accept that and translate it into something with depth. 

With a portrait it is just straight up not good enough to make something beautiful or interesting. That counts too of course, as it does with any piece of art, but there has to be so much more. You have to inspire the viewer to ask, "who is that?" or "what do they do?" or just simply, "what is that person all about?" You have to make the viewer want to invent stories about that person or make them wonder what it would be like to stand in line next to them in a grocery store or pass by them on the street. Not an easy thing to accomplish inside the lines of a single frame. 

As with anything though, difficult or not, practice lends itself to improvement. Plenty of time for that and plenty of film in my refrigerator to keep on clicking away.