Monday, November 16, 2009

Young Man with a Horn

A Little Off Topic - But Oh So Cool!

Found this article @ NYI Photo World . . . and the PICTURE OF THE MONTH is my friend!  Maybe he should give up his music and teaching career and focus on  modeling? Here is part of the article. If you are a photography buff you can find the rest here.  I could not resist adding some of my comments in RED.

Portrait skills are an important part of any professional photographer’s bag of tricks. But photographing people, whether in a formal setup or in an informal candid image, requires considerable knowledge and skill to be successful.

I have also photographed musicians and this photo, by NYI Complete Course in Professional Photography Student Gwen Juarez, is similar to that work, though most of the images I did were of performances, not studio set-ups. But is there any doubt that the subject of this photo is a trumpet player? We don’t need a caption to tell us that. The trumpet really focuses our attention and tells us something important about the person. Hello! He is not only an amazing trumpet player he can handle just about any other brass instrument plus the sax and drums and, oh, of course, the recorder!

Anything we could remove from the image to simplify it? No, nothing at all. Take away the trumpet and it becomes an altogether different photo. What about the wrist watch and the ring? Are they distracting? I don’t think so. In fact, both the watch and the ring appear to be the same color as the trumpet, making all three, “color coordinated” accessories. They almost “go with” the trumpet and reinforce its tonality. Anyway, people do routinely wear watches and rings, including musicians who are performing. I have photographed musicians who were literally festooned with jewelry, decked out with giant gold necklaces and rings on every finger. That was part of their self-image and I never messed with it. The jewelry in this photo is not like that and in fact is quite tasteful. I don’t know what the trumpet player’s musical skills are but he has a nice fashion sense.
LOL, top notch musician and person -- you have no idea, Mr. Whoever Wrote This!  :-)

What about the pose? After all, how we position our portrait subjects is extremely important and carelessness or lack of knowledge on the part of the photographer about how the camera “renders” the human anatomy can result in disaster. In this photo I like the placement of the left forearm and hand under the chin, drawing our eye toward the face and those very expressive eyes. However, I do think this particular arrangement, as executed, results in a slightly cramped look to the body. The head thus looks larger than it really is, relative to the rest of the body. I probably would have had him lean a little less forward toward the camera while at the same time retaining the basic arrangement.
I also like the expression on the face and what it conveys. This guy is serious about his “ax”. He’s almost daring us to disagree. I think it would have been a mistake to pressure him to smile.
He smiles quite easily and he has a killer sense of humor that can be sarcastic and dry. But he never seems to take it to an offensive level. In fact, this guy kept me sane at my school for a solid year. Might not have lasted so long there without him sharing my classroom. He probably has no idea.

Anything else? Well, there is a small white spec in the far corner of the right eye that I find a little annoying.
Other than that, the lighting here has produced two nice catch-lights in the pupils of the eyes, adding necessary sparkle to them. (the sparkle was already there...the camera just caught it!) And the illuminated background provides good separation between it and the subject, with no distracting shadows back there.
All in all, I think Gwen Juarez did a really great job and the result is a near perfect portrait. Kudos!
Wanna know something kinda neat? There are two guys in the world that look like this . . . this young man has an identical twin brother!


Abbey said...

A twin? Oh my goodness! He can't help that the white of his eyes caused that white spec ... overall, a relaxed and natural feeling pictorial.

Thank you for stopping by ... I really do miss you when you don't come for a visit.

Many blessings coming your way,

P.S. I was raised in Amarillo! Mom and Dad still there ... that is my HOME.... where are you?

Soutenus said...

I hope to visit more regularly now. We are back in our home (thank God) after quite an interesting year!

I am north of Houston. It is so cool to know that you are a Texan!

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