A new lightby James Byous on 12/16/11
Finally, I have it on paper and screen. Recently I've developed my own personal philosophy on photography - on portraits in general. I knew it, but couldn't express it. Now I have it.
When young, as a photojournalist, I captured the bluntness of life. Portraiture demanded hard-lines, wrinkles, pores, blemishes; elements recorded in silver salts and metallic silver much like the "art" photography that is prevalent today. Harsh side-lighting to accent the contours of skin, contrast printing pulled the mid-tones. Divergent light brought extremes to a maximum, intense tone upon intense tone like sharp, stratified rock in hard-edged planes. The unadorned face became ugly. The common features became harsh. That was "cool" and "in". That was the emerging style for young news photographers..
Older, I now search for the beauty in each face - character, wisdom, the glint and gleam in an aged and dimming eye; the light, softness and clarity in the young. Now I strive for the full range of tones, the optimum light. Each flash of the shutter is an attempt to create an image that compliments the full range of life in the individual and the personhood of the individual and the humanness of the individual... there on the other side of the lens. An objective, non-exploitative, without self-indulgent, ego-driven-shock-and-awe, for-the-sake-of-art starkness... just-damn-good portraits of age-old friends or new-found friends or non-friend-persons on the street that pass my camera lens and never cross my path again.
A fine portrait is a sign of respect. It comes down to that.
When young I believed that respect was an attribute to be earned.
Older, I realize that respect is an attribute to be given until circumstance removes.