Photographing people, young or old, in Mexico, and more recently, Bhutan, Thailand, and Cambodia— or simply in my backyard in the Berkshires, MA, continues to offer me an endless source of reward. It can also be a major challenge. For years, in order to supplement my articles my focus was primarily on plants, gardens, and landscapes. It was relatively simple to do: flowers, trees and stones don't budge and don't tend to be self-conscious.
And, I didn't feel compelled to seek shelter in a corner or hide behind my lens pretending not to exist. Today, embarking on a conversation with strangers or asking for permission to photograph has become more facile. It also can lead to some fascinating conversations. With Spanish under my belt, I have come to photograph more individuals here in Mexico. In the US I also did a series on women in farming: https://berkshirefoodandtravel.com/flora-1/
Thanks to my iPhone I also feel freer to approach a stranger. After all, everybody is taking shots! We can also show them the photo when taken or send them a copy. Of course, this means slowing down. And, when we're both more at ease, my photographs have a deeper, more personal feeling. Ultimately, this opens the door to an image being more than, well, just an image.
Portraits tell stories, complex stories we can only hint at. As photographers we may be lucky to catch a glimpse into a person's life, background, perhaps even soul. A portrait is also a reflection of who we are. It's all about what we are drawn to, how we interpret the world by the angle we choose, the light, the surrounding environment, the message we wish to convey and so much more. It may be simply the case of our own personal mood at the moment.
Below are some recent black and white and sepia photographs from San Miguel de Allende and Patzcuaro, Mexico. As I've learned over the years, converting to black and white brings the subject into focus. No distractions.
From a Trip to Veracruz: 2014
STORIES FACES TELL
From my Journal i.e. blog over the past couple of years: