For this edition of Throwback Thursday, I have chosen to feature a photograph that I made out in Seattle two years ago. It's one that's pretty near and dear to my heart.
I was out in Seattle to be part of a creativeLIVE broadcast with Mikey and Andy of LightenUpAndShoot. For those of you who are not familiar, creativeLIVE is an internet classroom that brings some of the best instructors in several industries into your own home via the internet. While they started out with just photography workshops, they have now branched out to feature workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, and software training. And if you watch it live, or on the rebroadcast, it's all FREE. Of course, you could decide to buy some of the courses (which I have) and the cost is very reasonable. If you have any interest in these subjects, you should check out what they have to offer.
To say that this weekend changed my life would be a gross understatement.
The point of this weekend workshop was to be able to make portraits of folks on the street with a simple one light set-up. This is not street photography where you're standing across the street shooting someone that has no idea what you're doing. No, for this you needed to approach someone, talk to them, learn a little bit about them and make images of them with their full participation. It's not easy when you're first starting out. People wonder what you're doing and more importantly, why you're doing it. And walking up to them with a camera and a softbox on a stand can be pretty intimidating. But doing it taught me a lot about how to approach people and how to talk to them to put them at ease. During the day, we were live on the internet talking about what we were doing and the technicalities of the lighting and capturing it with our cameras, and then we would hit the streets of Seattle to put what we'd learned into practice. It was an incredible experience.
That's how I met Kevin. We went to the park just outside the Pike Place Market along the river. It was gorgeous weather with a lot of folks in the park. Then I spied Kevin sitting up on a park bench. He was looking a bit disheveled and a bit out of the ordinary in his long black coat on one of the last days of July. I went up and introduced myself and started talking to him. He was pretty standoffish at first, but began to open up a bit. He told me he was a musician and that he could play pretty much anything with strings, but he didn't actually have an instrument right now. He'd come to Seattle to make it in the music business, but it hadn't happened yet. Kevin referred to himself as a "traveler" which is slang for someone who has no home. He'd had a pretty good day; while he was rummaging in an alley, someone from a restaurant had given him a bag of food and fruit. He offered me some, but I politely declined. I asked him about taking his picture and at first Kevin was pretty hesitant. He told me that he didn't want his picture getting in a newspaper; I didn't ask why. So we talked some more. Actually at this point, he became quite talkative and animated. Eventually, he thought it would be OK if I took his picture. So, with my buddy Jaspal Khaira holding the softbox, we made some pix. This was my favorite.....
Kevin liked it too.
What I didn't realize was that while I was taking the picture of Kevin, photographer extraordinaire and member of the creativeLIVE team, John Cornicello made this one of me....
You can see that I controlled the light using the softbox to achieve the moodiness that I wanted in my picture of Kevin. I think it portrays the story of his life more than a simple snapshot would have. What do you think?
This is one of favorite memories of that weekend. I still think of Kevin often and wonder about how he's doing. I had gone back the next night to see if I could find him, but no such luck. If you ever see Kevin, please contact me and let me know how he's doing. Sometimes some of the things you do leave an indelible mark on your life that will stay with you forever. My brief time with Kevin is one of those.