One of my most memorable photo assignments was to photograph strangers in Windsor, Connecticut when I was fourteen years old. I was a freshman in high school taking my first photography class with Walter Rabetz in 1984 at Loomis Chaffee School. It was terrifying and exhilarating – walk up and engage a perfect stranger and ask them permission to make a portrait. This was the basis of my becoming a photographer.
For the last few years, I’ve embraced drone photography and love its ability to soar above landscapes and create abstract compositions. But my roots as a photographer are making portraits, assigned and found. There is nothing like the intimacy and brief emotional connection of creating a portrait.
Some portraits are made and some are found. Sometimes I’m walking on the street and I have a second or two to decide; should I engage and ask to make a portrait? If I hesitate, they’re gone down the street, vanished in the crowd. I have many regrets of the times I haven’t made the time for a portrait. I’m looking for a personal style, flair or attitude. Most portraits are of complete strangers I will never see again. Sometimes I’ll have a few minutes to set up a light and think about a background and how subjects will pose. Other times, I have a split second to frame a shot and click the shutter. We are all passing through life at our own pace and I feel alive and engaged when I have spent a few minutes acknowledging another person on the other side of the lens. These are gifts.