This is John and Betty.
John is an avid street shooter I met via Flickr and Betty is his wife and frequent subject for the end-of-the-roll shots. I was invited to photograph them, at this wonderful fourth floor outdoor patio in downtown San Francisco.
So far in this portrait venture, Betty is my first female subject who isn’t also a photographer. I wasn’t sure how she would react to this image of her, something I hadn’t thought of until this point. I am not a fashion guy, so I had no light modifiers and it never crossed my mind to give a nod to vanity. I’m not like that.
My style of shooting portraits is to teach the subject a bit about the camera, the lens, and the process. Then I have them stand comfortably and relax and ask that they stand still. The rest is me fussing with a loupe under a jacket, speaking about which step in the process I’m doing, then letting them know when the shutter is about to open. A few minutes leading up to a split-second exposure. Bam! — Eighty square inches of film burned.
The experience has made me realize something about these portraits. If you’re doing unscripted, non-fashion shots of someone, large format is (or near to) the ideal format. The subject becomes part of the process, they anticipate the shutter, and in 1/100th of a second you capture all they are at that moment in excruciating detail. You likely have just one shot, so what’s done is done. The more I do this, the more I love doing it.
320TXP rated at ISO 640. Shot at 1/100 and developed in stock Xtol for 8 minutes. Printed on Ilford MGIV FB Glossy with a #4 filter, developed in Ilford PQ Universal.