One thing I really enjoy about making portraits for a living, is that I am often asked to go to a place I’ve never been, and photograph people I’ve never met. I know… sounds like it should be trouble. But for me it’s like being told “I don’t look good in pictures”. It kinda makes my day.
This time, it was especially fun because they were all visually sophisticated and pleasant people, as was my client, Karin Pendley-Koser at KPK and Co.
While none of these folks were used to being photographed so deliberately, they were not hostile to the process, which is surprisingly common and always adds a Thin Layer of Interesting to the day.
But here, everyone was totally on board, and patient, too.
Plus, we were at Chip Cheatham’s showroom in Atlanta, which was comfortable, and lush with environmental flavor. The context of deliberate interior space needed to be an important element in these portraits, but it needed to be the second element. Or third.
Finding an appropriate background can be more challenging than connecting with the person being photographed, but this place had the opposite problem. Plenty of opportunity, and often, too much. And then there was that black ceiling. And those black walls.
I didn’t have the time to appreciate the Arnold Newman axiom of Talent<Moving Furniture @ 1/99 ratio.
I had to find existing tableau that lent themselves to the demeanor, palette and structure of each person.
What could be forward, and what must recede.
Who would stand where. Where do these lights go. Quickly.
I arranged 13 different set ups resulting in 11 final portraits of 6 different people and 3 groupings, in under two hours.
Then we went to the next location.