the power of portraits

This post is really late. I was sick for a couple of days, so I didn’t have the peace of mind to write up a post – that is also, why this one is short and also contains only one image.

I agree with Sascha, shooting images of people is really the greatest thing to do with a camera. It is also the most threatening in a way. If you misrepresent a landscape, the grass and trees, rivers and mountains won’t be mad at you. It’s hard to be unflattering to something that has no agency, feelings or emotions itself.

If I take pictures of people, I feel a special responsibility. I want to capture a part of their personality – are they funny, serious, optimistic or grumpy in a way that speaks in a positive way about them. It does not have to be flattering in an aesthetic way, but the picture has to be representative of one aspect of the person, ideally – to me – one, that they think is representative of themselves, too.

I started with street portraits in Tanzania, for reasons I might tell you about later, and did some street photography portraiture, mainly of street musicians, because they are already public. Last year I began to set-up a small pop-up home studio with a backgrounds, speedlights and light-modifiers. I really like that situation, because one the one hand you can control every aspect of the light and on the other hand you can connect to the model with some intensity (and a coffee on the side).

This one was done for a co-worker who is a classically trained singer. What I really like is that it tells a great story of him as a person and of him in a stage-personality. It’s from my first studio-session ever, and still one of my favourites.