The Aesthete



My friend Michael asked if I would take his portrait for a new career opportunity heading his way. It’s great when you know someone well and they trust you creatively. Michael has always appreciated the work I do and is rather liberal with feedback. That said, I have found him to be the creative force with projects that suit his needs. Our work process is hard to pin down and put into words – parameters in sketch form are discussed, but with an openness of creative freedom. He is also someone that doesn’t need a reminder or check list – like a Swiss watch – and then the rest is left in my hands.

In a way, too much creative freedom can go in the wrong direction – hence, a good plan is worth the investment and exercising as much creative energy as possible.

About the time of this photo session I figured out a studio system – a way of working that cannot be quantified. The best I can do to describe it begins with referencing my notes, working though a plan and fiercely finding what is right. You cannot know or see it until it’s there – and that takes immense patience on behalf of the subject and myself, and perhaps a dash of pressure.

I think I also walked into a style the same time as this new studio system that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time – natural light and strobe mix, textures, slightly shallow depth of field and a little bit of image processing. Maybe this style is a trend and won’t stand the test of time, but for right now I feel that I have evolved as a portrait photographer.

Michael cleverly published his new images on Facebook and Linked-In the weekend before he took office with the City of Trenton and updated his public profile all in a moment and in unison. It’s great to see a client and friend enjoy their images as much as I do. And, I title him as the aesthete – a person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty – as both a system and a style landed during this photo session.