This will be the last Feature Photograph of the year (we’ll return on January 8th, 2011) so I thought I’d share my favorite image of the year and explain to you why it’s my favorite image.  Well, besides being of my youngest son.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F8  1/100th  70mm  ISO 100

 

This will be the last Feature Photograph of the year (we’ll return on January 8th, 2011) so I thought I’d share my favorite image of the year and explain to you why it’s my favorite image.  Well, besides being of my youngest son.

My son comes to visit every year during his schools summer break, and since I became a part time Father these summer breaks are my favorite time of the year.  A time I plan and look forward to more than anything else.  This last summer had the bonus of my son asking me to take pictures for his senior book and at the last minute a senior portrait for the year book.

Not having a studio set up we made due with a couple off-camera flashes and an improvised background and set about the business of making a senior portrait.  Of course being a modern teen he spent a few hours in what I called when his age a “beauty shop.”  The first year without braces, a new shirt, a spiffy haircut and we were ready for business. 

What ‘really’ makes a photo is the relationship of the photographer to the subject.  You might think this should be easy because he’s my son, but in reality it’s much more difficult.  Any family discourse affects attitudes and of course having grown up watching me work he knows all my tricks to elicit the best expressions and he was on guard against them all.  There is a good reason many professions choose not to work with family when at all possible. 

When working with ‘customers’ you’re establishing and taking advantage of ‘temporary mico-relationships’ to get the best portraits.  That is, if you’re making good portraits.  You learn enough about them and make them comfortable enough to come out of their shell just long enough to make a timeless portrait.  Far too many studios operate as picture booths and turn out soulless garbage which quickly finds its way into the nearest box of trinkets and old photos.

So to me, this specific photograph will always remind me of a specific summer, the last summer before my son is off to the university, where we shared a moment of warmth and humor.  A moment where he let down his protective skin to display a heartfelt laugh and a shy posture which only youth can pull off.  Perhaps the best ‘feel good’ moment of the year.

 

This is the portrait he chose for his yearbook, captured mere seconds after the image above.  Out of over a hundred, he chose this one without realizing he was choosing it because his expression was a product of the afterglow, of a moment, of a great permanent relationship.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F8  1/100th  70mm  ISO 100

 

This is the portrait he chose for his yearbook, captured mere seconds after the image above.  Out of over a hundred, he chose this one without realizing he was choosing it because his expression was a product of the afterglow, of a moment, of a great permanent relationship.