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52 b&w portraits: Week 52 - Un honnête homme

b&w portrait 52 weeks

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#1 olivier

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:23

Following the just ended 1 year collective challenge (a success for me as it kept me shooting!), I have decided to continue but on a somewhat different basis.

I have always liked to shoot portraits but find it often difficult to connect with the subject although I know that this is the determining factor, well before all technical points. Getting the person to relax, start to chat about something important to them, and finally catch the expression I am looking for... It works sometimes but I want to improve there. I also want to ask people I don't know (but find interesting) to stop for a minute in exchange of nothing besides an email with a photo of them if it is good enough. We'll see if I manage to do this.
As my colorblindness makes it nearly impossible to get the skin tones right, I'll do everything in b&w.

Any critique, comment, advice, whatever, is of course welcome and even encouraged.

In order to keep the pace after week 52 of the previous challenge, my week 1 was actually last week, so I'll recycle a picture already shown here:

Week 1: Scratched face.
Robin is 6 years old. He spends his days reading Tintin, building castles for his Playmobils and driving his sister crazy.
D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AIS at 2.5. Window light.

post-207-0-96948200-1349119616.jpg


Edited by olivier, 24 September 2013 - 19:49 .

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#2 olivier

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:28

Week 2: l'ingénieur

J. is a retired engineer. A very successful man and powerful mind. He now spends his free days helping many young people launch their own business and he also saves time for his boat.
D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AIS at 2.5. Window light

_OA25341 s.jpg

Edited by olivier, 08 October 2012 - 13:52 .

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#3 Fons Baerken

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:48

i like the idea of the portraits: good going

#4 RC51

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 13:26

Olivier,
A wonderful start to your challenge.....Well done!

Now if I may, I would like to hold you to your idea of capturing an image of a stranger each week. This would be a real feat to achieve, and I am sure would develop your photography immensely.

Whatever direction you choose, I will be eagerly waiting to see your weekly image.

Cheers
Bez

#5 olivier

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 14:18

Wait a minute Bez... I wrote that I ALSO wanted to ask unknown people, not ONLY! But definitely, I want to do it.
It is not the same thing to do. In one case you have very little time to act and take what you get, in the other you have enough time to really work on the pose (until the subject tells me "OK dad, one more and I'm gone"), control the light in the background which in my case means close or not a shutter...
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#6 RC51

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 14:43

Whatever direction you choose, I will be eagerly waiting to see your weekly image.
Cheers


Olivier,
I like all your portraits period.....

Forgive me..... I may be projecting my thoughts into your previous comment..... I find the idea of a stranger per week challenge a fascinating proposal, but this is your challenge. As I stated I will be closely following your B&W portrait challenge with anticipation.

I sincerely apologise for any misunderstanding.

Best Regards
Bez

#7 olivier

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 14:50

Don't apologize! I like the fact that you are pushing me, this is what I need...
I just know I won't be able to take meaningful portrait of strangers every week as it requires to go out alone, spend time looking at people and get one to accept. I often won't have the time for that unfortunately. So a mixture of situations would suit me better.
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#8 olivier

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:13

week 3: the cheese master

Gérard sells cheese at the open air market in l'Isle Adam. He started his career in photoengraving many years ago for parisian newspapers and switched to cheese making (tome du Jura) and finally cheese selling 30 years ago. He is very knowledgeable in a domain that is essential to me...
I don't know him well at all, we usually just exchange on the virtues of his products. My kids call him "le Père Noël", Santa Claus.
This morning, he accepted to pose for me for a few seconds only as other customers were waiting behind me...
D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AIS at 2.5. Natural light

_OA25482 s.jpg

Edited by olivier, 14 October 2012 - 11:20 .

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#9 atpaula

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:16

Very nice portraits, with the perfect lens.
Well done.
Aguinaldo

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You are a loser when you quit".
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#10 RC51

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:57

Fabulous portrait Olivier..... You have made a connection with a proud thoughtful artisan.

On a side note how nice is that out of focus rendition from the old nikkor.

Cheers
Bez

#11 palalaikka

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 13:45

Very, very nice portraits, especially J. and Gérard.

I wish I also had 105/2.5 AIS.

#12 olivier

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 14:07

Get one! I got mine in a very nice deal (30€ for a 105 f/2.5 AIS + 28 f/2 AI after I resold the rest of a set of lenses). You can easily find one for 100-150€ and it is well worth it.
Thanks everyone
Olivier
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#13 averity

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 18:55

great idea, keep up the great portraits

#14 olivier

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:16

thanks Averity, I'll do my best...
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#15 rosko

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 18:44

Well done, these portraits, Olivier.

i own this legendary lens (and its P-C Auto version AIed, wich has the same optical formula) and it works for nature, flowers, too.

I am building a set of this old lenses...

Francis.

#16 olivier

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 18:29

Merci Francis.
I have a hard time using the 105mm portrait lens on small objects (flowers...) because of the quite long minimum focus distance. I guess I am too used to what my macro lens offers.
Olivier

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#17 Carolyn

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 00:57

Olivier... personally (and I stress personally) I prefer to see the dof large enough to have the ear/s be in focus. I was taught by Mr. Hal Gould to dodge up the ear a bit... (and have it be in focus). You might ask what are his credentials? Well, when Yousuf Karsh would come stateside from Canada, he'd hire Hal (and Hal's camera gear) to assist in working. He tried to get Hal to join forces with him in Canada, but Hal had his own gallery and his own business. Anyway... he learned that from Yousuf Karsh... and passed it along to me. I'm passing along to you... and anyone else that is interested in this (obviously for black and white).... that wasn't all of that lesson, but your oof ears reminded me. Hal used a photograph of the fellow Hemingway wrote about and Karsh photographed for Old Man in the Sea... to make his point.

Edited by Carolyn, 20 October 2012 - 01:01 .

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#18 olivier

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 18:50

Hello Carolyn
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your knowledge, it is very important for me. I must admit I don't pay much attention to ears and just make sure they are not cut... Shallow DOF is something I like in portraits as it allows to have everything present in the picture and yet to emphasize what is important to me, the eyes and the facial expression. Also, I only use natural light right now and have to make with what autumn gives me, so opening the lens is helpful. I like the background to be somewhat present but still blurred, unless I aim for an environmental portrait (I don't have and don't want studio backgrounds).
I expect to shoot the 4th week portrait tomorrow when a friend visits us, I will definitely keep your advices in mind and try different settings. Maybe f/4 will still maintain enough separation while bringing enough facial elements in focus. Anyway, the weather promises to be so bad that we will have to shoot inside. And in any case it is likely I will have to use high ISO to make sure someting is sharp in the picture as we expect to open a good bottle of wine for luch... We shall see.
Olivier
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#19 olivier

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 19:01

And btw, MM Karsh and Gould knew/know what they are talking about, obviously! So definitely, I'll listen an try.
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#20 olivier

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 17:04

Week 4: the flutist

Delphine is a professional flute player and teacher. A very gentle an people oriented person. We had her and her family today for lunch, and I told her about my one year project and the fact I wanted her to be my next victim.
She is used to playing in front of hundreds of people and yet I had a very hard time to have her relax in front of the camera. Obviously the red wine was not enough! I am not totally happy with the result but this is what I have for this week...

_OA25612 s.jpg

Edited by olivier, 21 October 2012 - 17:06 .

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