1Q) Can you please tell us the story behind this portrait? How you took it and why you choose to shoot this person?
This is a portrait I made by projecting my own photograph onto myself. I was interested in experimenting with projection, and also creating a self portrait that conceptually spoke about my "inner" and "outer " life. In it, my presentational self, basically my face and body are representing the outer parts of me, and my photograph that I projected is representing my preferences and aesthetic interests, things that are equally a part of me, but not quite as much on display.
To create it I set up a digital projector and a tripod in a dark room and put my camera on a ten second timer. Then I ran back and forth between pressing the timer on the camera and standing in front of the projection.
2Q) What photography gear you used here and why? What is usually in your photo bag?
For this particular photo I used a Fujifilm FinePix S100FS, but actually the camera that I use most often is my tiny Canon Powershot SD 1200. It's just a digital point and shoot, but it's done me well and its very portable. I also have a beautiful Canon SLR with a telephoto lens that was passed down to me by my grandfather, as well as a Holga, although I mostly shoot digital.
3Q) What do you love most about shooting portraits?
I like how shooting portraits is a kind of collaboration between the photographer and the model. It’s great to be able to develop a dynamic in which you can get and give instant feedback, change things, and have the shoot evolve as you go.
4Q) Do you consider yourself mostly as a “portrait” photographer?
I love to shoot people, so I'd say maybe i'm more like a people photographer.
5Q) Do you work with available light or do you use additional lightning often?
I try to take advantage of available light, particularly when I can use the color or quality of it to my advantage, but I often use a flash when taking portraits to freeze motion and also to give photos a crisp appearance. Flash is great for jumping portraits also.
6Q) What/Who are your photography muses and influences?
I really admire the work of Ryan McGinely, Hendrik Kerstens, Nan Goldin, Emmet Gowin, Sally Mann, and Annie Leibovitz, out of many others.
I also stay in touch with my friends from RISD and being able to see each other’s projects and share enthusiasm for photography keeps me inspired.
7Q) Any tip for taking better portraits?
I've found that good portrait photography takes a certain amount of empathy. Sense the comfortability level of your subjects and work with them to make the environment comfortable. I usually play music and I give a lot of rapid-fire direction and feedback. I also sometimes show models the images on the digital camera as we go, particularly if for some reason it's hard for the model to understand what the camera's seeing, and therefore why I’m having them move their body in a certain way. That way we can work as a team, once we're both on the same page. There's a definitely a sense of trust between a photographer and the model that's important to be established.
Thank You, Jessica!