Today we have a really special guest- famous photographer Kris Krug from Vancouver. He shared a story of portrait, which is one of the pictures featured on the flickr homepage. Till today it has over 1,230,000 viewers. I asked him, how this awesome portrait changed his life…
"It has changed me more as a father than it has as a photographer. There are lots of difficult things you go through as the parent of special needs child. Yet to see his photo showcased prominently on something I care deeply about, such as Flickr, and to see him being praised by my friends and colleagues gives me a sense of pride for my son. Also his images has been used for campaigns and posters for Autism. This photo has produced some redemptive and endearing qualities since I posted it online."
1Q) Can you please tell us the story behind this portrait? How you took it and why you choose to shoot
This is a photo of my son Judah which was taken in a cemetery near my old house in Deep Cove in Vancouver, BC. One of the funnest things of being a young parent and a photographer is that I have beautiful subjects around me often. Judah has special needs and can’t really sit still so this photograph is a bit of a miracle. This particular photo captures a side of his personality that is hard to show in photographs. It captures his joy in his funny face and his haircut but some of his pain as well like his rosy red cheeks which are scars that are leftover from his feeding tube that had been attached to his cheeks and his bigger glasses.
2Q) What photography gear you used here and why? What is usually in your photo bag?
The camera I used to take this photo was a Canon film camera. I bought it at the pawn shop for a $100 because it used the same lenses as my DSLR. I was using my favorite film Fuiji Provia which is a type of slide film. The colors and the look of the photo is a bit surreal which is I developed the slide film as regular film. This is called cross processing. Normally I carry a digital camera and a film camera. I only carry two lenses with one each attached to each camera body. I also carry a bag full of mix and matched expired film I found on the Internet and some memory cards.
3Q) What do you love most about shooting portraits?
I really love meeting and interacting with peoples’ personalities while shooting portraits. The camera is just a 3rd wheel which allows me to capture and share a piece of the person I connect with. I really like big eyes and bright smiles. Portraits allow me to document that little slice of connection I have with people.
4Q) Do you consider yourself mostly as a “portrait” photographer?
I consider myself a people photographer. This can look a lot of different ways. Fashion. Music. Environmental. Street.
5Q) Do you work with available light or do you use additional lightning often?
This photo of my son Judah is shot with natural light and most of my work is using natural light. Sometimes if I need to find some more light or need a little bit of control, I will use reflectors. I have experimented with hot cool lights but they are not nearly as portable as I want them to be. Also people tend to move when I am photographing them so additional lighting systems do not allow you the same control with the subject as you would in natural light. Also artificial lights are expensive, tend to break and I never seem to have them with me when I need them.
6Q) What/Who are your photography muses and influences?
Influences - My good friend Joshua Dunford who is the guy who helped me figure out that being a photographer was within my reach. Artist/activist Chris Jordan - while his subject matter isn’t similar to mine I share his heart.
In terms of muses they come and go. Some are around for a longer period of time like my daughter Sierra while others such as Danielle Sipple have only been in my life for a couple of years but represent a lifetime of beautiful images.
7Q) Any tip for taking better portraits?
Find an environment in which you subject is comfortable. Keep the light in their eyes. Faces can look a lot of different ways so make sure to take a lot of photos. If you are shooting something digital and you get something good you often can show your subject the shot which can increase their confidence to make the shoot go more smoothly.
Thank You, Kris!