Project 52

Week 1 - Portrait of a Stranger

A few weeks back, I kicked off a 52 Week project.   The goal of the project varies for all the participants, which number about 100, but generally the aim is to build a portfolio and start building the foundations toward being a working commercial photographer.

Our first assignment was intended to get us all out of our comfort zone...make a portrait of a stranger.  We weren't allowed to surreptitiously capture a street shot, we had to introduce ourselves and have a conversation.  I wanted to use this as an opportunity to take an environmental portrait, so I approached a local business, Wyckoff Cycle, to see if they would be willing to let me take some images while they worked on a bike. 

One of the owners, Mike, reluctantly agreed to participate.  When I returned the next day to do the shoot, his co-worker was teasing him that I was there to steal his soul...which I guess explained the reluctance!  Anyway, I digress.  Given the small space in which we would be working, I went to the shop with one light, an umbrella and my camera with a zoom lens.  

I've been struggling recently when working in tight spaces to separate the subject from the background.  After shooting the main shot, I took the image into Photoshop and manually darkened the background to make Mike stand out from the busy background of tools.  I'll be working on techniques over the next few weeks to minimize my Photoshop time.  The image below was the the one I submitted for the assignment:

If you are still reading, thanks for hanging in there!  I hope you enjoy my 52 week journey.  If you'd like to follow along, enter your email address in the Subscribe field to the right and you'll receive an email with each post I make.  Please remember to verify you want to subscribe when you receive an email from my website.