Going West

Going West

I first lived in California as a nineteen-year old filled with visions of Jack Kerouac, Raymond Chandler, Carlos Santana and the Grateful Dead. From Vermont I was pulled west to the crashing waves of the Pacific in search of romance, freedom and a college education at San Francisco State. I was hooked on the abundant sunshine, diverse population and rugged geographic shelf cantilevered out over the Pacific Rim.

San Francisco, California San Francisco, California

Ten years later I lived in the Bay Area again, having met my wife, who was working in San Francisco and had grown up in Northern California.  Since then I have returned often to San Francisco and am always drawn back to its most iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco, California Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. San Francisco, California San Francisco, California

College Portraits

Lugging camera equipment up steep stairs past the enormous clock tower of Baker Library, we emerged on to a narrow balcony with expansive views of Dartmouth College.  Perfect for a portrait…  Blue dusk is falling as we arrive at Craftsbury Ski Center, the temperature is 13 degrees and the snow-making guns are revving up and spewing frozen crystals around as the wind whips it all into my lens.  Perfect for a portrait…not.

Recently I made a series of portraits at Middlebury College and Dartmouth College on assignment for the Chronicle of Higher Education and for Dartmouth College.  These assignments proved to be challenging and fun.  At Middlebury College, I photographed three students for a story about the varying tuitions students pay based on their financial backgrounds.  I was asked to photograph them holding up pieces of paper with the amount each of them pays against a simple backdrop, since this was for a cover.  I found a green blackboard for one backdrop, but by the time we moved outside, darkness had fallen and there was little of the dusk light for which I had hoped.

Middlebury College students Carter Kelly, Jay Sapir and Sam Kopinka-Loehr are raising issues of how much various students pay for college.

Middlebury College students Carter Kelly, Jay Sapir and Sam Kopinka-Loehr are raising issues of how much various students pay for college.

Middlebury College students Carter Kelly, Jay Sapir and Sam Kopinka-Loehr are raising issues of how much various students pay for college.

The Dartmouth College assignment was more involved and featured five students and one alum.  I worked with an art director and designer to set up locations and direct the subjects and backgrounds.  We received special access to the top of Baker library, a theater and a football stadium.  I also photographed Lucas Schultz, an alum, who I had photographed for the New York Times a few months ago for a story on snow-making at cross-country ski areas.  All in all it was a great experience using lights and attempting to capture a sense of these individuals.

Nell Pierce, '13, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Nell Pierce, ’13, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Danny Freeman '13, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Danny Freeman ’13, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth student Nina Rojas '13., Hanover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth student Nina Rojas ’13., Hanover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth student Jordan Are '15, Hanover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth student Jordan Are ’15, Hanover, New Hampshire

Deirdre Lambert '15, Dartmouth student.

Deirdre Lambert ’15, Dartmouth student.

Dartmouth alum Lucas Schultz, Snowmaker, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Craftsbury, Vermont.

Dartmouth alum Lucas Schultz, Snowmaker, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Craftsbury, Vermont.

To see more of these portraits, visit www.calebkenna.com