Be warned: this is a picture-heavy post. Most of my assigned work this year involved making portraits of a pretty broad range of characters. Five years ago I would have scoffed at the thought of doing so much portrait work- it’s practically anathema to the photojournalist credo. We’re not supposed to set up shots or “direct” action. We capture it as it unfolds before us. When I worked in newspapers, portraits were for lazy bums who didn’t want to put in the time to get something “real” or last-minute place fillers when a reporter neglected to turn in a photo request far enough in advance of publication. Turns out portraits are fun. Really fun. I just had to learn how to splice my photojournalist’s laissez faire approach into a portrait photographer’s meticulous attention to detail and ultimate control of every element. My favorite shots are still the ones where serendipity intervenes in an otherwise stale “smile for the camera” portrait and something weird and magical happens. That’s what I’m always looking and pushing for.
Tremendous thanks to Redux Pictures, AARP Bulletin, Essence, Marie Claire, Time, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Inc., Popular Mechanics, Education Week, BusinessWeek, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Men’s Journal. Also, to the subjects of these photos- thank you for your patience and your souls. I promise I’m keeping them in a safe place.