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Artist • Photographer • Graphic Designer • Illustrator • Typographer • Teacher • Creating effective visual messages since 1965

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“Remember when…” (before the grab a selfie) there was the Portrait Sitting/Study

by admin on June 8, 2023

“was a time…” when a subject came to the large, studio portrait camera
for a “portrait sitting” with the photographer and camera; or before the easel of the painter.

Those 8×10 or 5×7 film cameras had “swing;”
which allowed the film plane, lens plane, and the plane of the subject’s face,
to maintain focus of both the subject’s eyes,
even though one eye may be further from the lens than the other;
and the large format, longish focal length lenses had very limited depth of field.

This morning, after I completed my gardening task, Dolly Stokes invited me in,
to see Ron Stokes’ paintings. A lovely art collection; each with a story; of course.

And I asked Dolly if she might “sit” for me for a portrait study;
as well as a proof of concept in the use of my imagist-swing-tilt-shift-contraption
to achieve classical portraits. She graciously agreed.

Investing time used to be an important part of the way we created photographs.
Time to find the light, angle, point of view, manually adjust camera movements to arrive at…
the one, exposure on a large sheet of film.
And while we made these fine adjustments we also had time to get to know our subjects.
Not only how they looked in beautiful light; but also time to talk to them; and more importantly:
allow them to talk… allow them to reflect… much beautiful light reflects off a face…
a subject’s thought streams, if allowed the time, can reflect through their eyes.
“Windows to the soul.” It’s been said.

(click image for larger view)
The imagist-swing-tilt-shift-contraption: with Leica SL, and the 1970 Leitz Elmar 1:3.5 / 65.
North window light, 11ish, Exposure: ASA 800, 1/60th second, wide open @ f:3.5. It works.
And what a marvelous “talk-time” we had.

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