The 30 Second Portrait
Once upon a time, I did a 100 Strangers Project.
The goal was to take street portraits of 100 people. It took me a while – every walk up to someone and cold-ask to take their picture? Not as easy as it may seem. My confidence ebbed and flowed.
But it taught me a lot about interacting with people, getting them comfortable quickly and knowing my camera so that it was ready to go.
I still use what I learned doing that personal project. And I did so the other weekend at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival.
After the Max Weinberg talk, I saw a guy who was a filmmaker and I asked to do his portrait.
The thing was….he wasn’t who I thought he was. It’s a long story. I quickly righted the ship, though, and grabbed this 30 second portrait of Lorenzo DeStefano.
Lorenzo was an interesting guy to chat with. It was starting to rain when I shot the portrait so I asked him where he was headed. He was going to a restaurant on the boardwalk, a good 10-15 walk away. I invited to give him a lift and we had a nice chat on the way there.
The next 30 second portrait happened later that evening, as I was prowling around Paramount Theater during the Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul concert.
After a while, I was standing near the bar on the second floor and was noticing how the light was coming from the doorway leading up the second floor balcony. It was so nice, I almost asked the usherette to stand in it so I could do a portrait. I waited to long that she walked away to do her job.
Then I looked over and saw Jesse Malin, with his sorta trademark newsboy cap on his head, chatting with some folks a few feet away. I’ve been a fan of Jesse’s music for awhile now (anyone else know him?) and thought “Huh. I wonder…” A minute or two later, he left who he was talking to and was walking past me. I said excuse me and introduced myself as shooting for Backstreets.com. I asked him if he’d mind if I did a quick portrait (in that light I had been looking at!) He said sure. I got him positioned where I wanted him and snapped off about about five frames, including the one above.
Fuji X100T, f/2, 1/25th of a second. Always on ISO 1600.
However… I actually like this one best.
He just took a swig of beer in the middle of my shooting and I caught it. Didn’t even realize it till later. Rock star move. Him, not me.
I said thanks, and asked him if he was going to play with the band tonight. He said no, he was just there as a fan. Shook his hand and I went back to looking for different views. In post, I pushed to the contrast a bit to look all Anton Corbijn-ish. But I love this shot.
Listen, it’s hard to go up to someone and ask to take their photo. It’s scary.
But these cameras are our passports. Have confidence in yourself and your machine and go get them.
They make for some really wonderful images and interactions.
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017