Deb in the optical spotlight

I asked a good friend, Deb Burgess, to pose for me in the studio, so I could experiment further with my relatively new optical spotlight. She agreed. I was looking for portraits that would be different, using the spotlight’s various light modifiers to change how the light would fall, especially across the face. I also thought that I would render some of the images in black and white (and in some instances, toned). In a previous session with Sheldon P., I had great success with many images, using the same tools. (I always have lots of “also-ran” images that are OK, but nothing remarkable: successes are those that stand out.)

As people mature, generally, they become more sure of themselves, more relaxed, and more individual or unique. Actors of any age can put on different personae, but mature people usually have a wider range of expression or mood than they did when they were younger. Deb followed direction very well. I experimented with black & white, and sometimes toned black & white. I liked Deb’s direct gaze, the strength and intelligence it conveys.

Sometimes portraits have a directness that is arresting, especially when the subject is looking right into the camera. Sometimes they are moody, and imply that the subject’s thoughts are elsewhere. Lighting can be key to the way the image is received by the viewer.

Black and white, with or without toning, simplifies the image, obviously. This abstraction makes it stronger. Selective focus, in which part of the image is sharp, and the others slightly out-of-focus, does the same thing. Post-processing (how the digital image is adjusted after the shot) amplifies the abstraction. The more expressive the look, the more abstraction heightens its appeal, in my opinion. Muted, low-contrast images suit subjects who seem in a reflective mood.

For me, black & white can be associated with any mood, but color usually means happiness, life, humor, connection.

These are only a small sample of the images I got of Deb. I really enjoy the capturing of the images, and also working on them afterwards. Choosing which to show, or how many to show, is always a challenge. These were so much fun to capture and to process. I look forward to doing it again. Here’s a parting image, one that reminds me of a high-contrast image of Andy Warhol from years ago.

If you are looking for portraiture like this, I’d be happy to do it for you. However, if you are looking for more conventional portraits (like well-lit, sharp headshots for LinkedIn), I can provide that, too. In fact, I’ll be happy to do the conventional style that you see elsewhere, and throw in some unconventional, unique, “artsy” things as well, no charge! Call me, or text me!