Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Forgot just how much I love portraiture

Shot on the Olympus E-P5 and 17mm f/1.8, 1/250" at ISO 200.

This weekend some good friends and I got together for a random hike-and-dine around the Loch Raven Reservoir area just north of Baltimore City. I'd been up that way once before for a real estate job, and since then had a curiosity about its potential as a new hiking spot to add to the list. Despite rapidly disappearing since last week's blizzard, snow still blanketed the landscape, but even wet, snow filled shoes aren't that bad when it's 50 degrees outside.

Ultimately the landscape was flat and dead and boring, but it was still nice to get out for a little hike with a sizeable group (and introduce as of yet unintroduced circles of friends to each other). I had tons of fun photographing my friends as they brandished their cameras, though, which reminded me of the muse I sort of left behind back in 2012. People photography is kind of awesome, and portraits taken candidly during a hike have always appealed more to me than any landscape (even if those "dreamscapes" with the 10-stop ND filter are pretty fun to capture).

Back in 2012 and up through some of 2013, while I was still in the thick of urban exploration on the regular, there was a point I stopped caring about the buildings and more aimed to capture the experience of exploring with candid faces. The same muse bled into hiking as it was all effectively the same thing. I think I just liked capturing the subtleties of other people's' curiosity.

It's a fun aesthetic that I miss. And inevitably it is elusive to me now because I'm not adventuring as much nor in the same ways I used to. Most of my work today is safe, crosses no boundaries to speak of, and doesn't imply even an inkling of risk. It's a problem. There's remarkably little value to be squeezed from the stones of the tried, the true, the done-before. My career as a working photographer did not get the kickstart it did because someone noticed all those pictures of pleasant parks and convention snapshots.

That said, there's also remarkably little adventuring left to be had locally. But that's okay. Plans are in motion to venture up to a friend's place in Pennsylvania and ideally we'll seek out the shoddy remnants of a defunct Pennsyltuckey and discover something otherwise missing in our creative lives. Gentrification and newfound money never make their way to the lost mining towns of Old Appalachia.