Sunday, February 20, 2011

Story behind the portrait of Questlove from The Roots... interview with HILARY SOL ALLEN.

1Q)Can you please tell us something about this portrait? How you took it and why you choose to shoot this person?
I was hired by The Roots to document their week of practices and album listening parties for the release of Rising Down. Throughout each day, I would pull members to the side to take their portrait. This was taken on the roof of Legacy Recording Studios in Time Square in New York City.

2Q)What photography gear you used here and why? What is usually in your photo bag?
This was taken with a Hasselblad 503cw and Ilford Delta 400 film. The Hasselblad is a favorite of mine for film and another camera that is always with me is my SX-70 for Polaroids.

3Q)What do you love most about shooting portraits?
The time I get to spend with the person.

4Q) Do you consider yourself mostly as a “portrait” photographer?
No. I really love to document everything. I tend to go through different phases and muses.

5Q) Do you work with available light or do you use additional lightning often?
Mainly available light.

6Q) What/Who are your photography muses and influences?
My all time favorite photographer is W. Eugene Smith. The wonderful photography from various photographers from old jazz and blues records have a huge impact on my portraits as well. 

7Q) Any tip for taking better portraits?
Get to know the person, or people, you are taking photos of. Talk with them, ask them questions. You are a reporter, but instead of using pen and paper to tell a story, you have a camera. Think about a feeling that you would like this time together, or this person, to convey. Sometimes the feeling is broad and on a grander scale and sometimes it's more focused in on what that person is showing you by their body language at the moment. All of this is much easier to do if you have a conversation while taking pictures. If you worry less about the finished product and relax with who you are taking pictures with, the outcome is usually a positive one.

Thank You, Hilary!

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