Face The Light

I’m in the City at a coffee shop called Farley’s.
The place is thronging with guests.
And for good reason.
The vibe and coffee are great.
At a table next to me,
Four friends are talking and laughing.
Their banter is infectious.
I listen to them.
I watch them carefully.
Then I home in on one.
She brings great energy to the scene.
Plus, she’s graced by light streaming in from the window.
One of her friends leaves the table.
I shuffle over and plop down in the empty seat.
Hi, I say, warmly.
I want to photograph you.
What for, she asked.
Because I chase good light,
And it’s transfiguring your face right now, I add, lamely.
Her friends chuckle at my remark.
But she doesn’t chuckle back.
She just looks at me, friendly and puzzled.
Sure, she says, go for it.
I smile, she smiles.
Our eyes connect, briefly.
And the camera shutters of its own volition,
Preserving 1/125 of a second in digital immortality.

If you’re looking for a Bay Area corporate or family photographer, contact me

See the Invisible

Portrait photography Bay Area San Jose flash light study low key

That’s J.,
Our next-door neighbor,
An Icelandic gal born in California.
It’s been a pleasure watching her grow up.
My wife Terrell and I refer to her as our other daughter.
We’re the beneficiaries of that compliment, for sure.
Anyhow, how lucky am I that J. will often model at a moment’s notice.
In the image above, I was practicing with a new off-camera flash.
We were in a garage with too much ambient light.
So I dropped my ISO to 100 and stopped down to f/22 at 1/200 of a second to produce a perfectly black background.
Then I experimented with flash power to study different effects.
This image is a throw-away, an outtake, nothing more.
But there’s one thing I like about the photo a lot—
The sharp profile line that travels down Jesigga’s forehead,
Across her nose and lips and round her chin.
That line is very interesting,
An ultra-stark edge,
An abrupt demarcation between light and dark,
Between something and nothing.
I’m fascinated by that Line, always.
But there’s something else that interests me.
My outtake came to the attention of a young Bay Area artist.
His name is August Vu.
He tinkers with many mediums,
Including clay, crayons, oils, and even recyclables.
In sleepless hours, he makes art to clear his mind and think.
You won’t find him on social media.
He avoids it.
His interests are elsewhere.
But I’m delighted to share his interpretation of my photo here.

Portrait photography Bay Area San Jose flash light study low key

His rendering makes up for all the faults of the original picture.
He surfaces textures and details that were originally lost in shadows—
In her cheek, in her jaw, and especially in her hair.
Isn’t that what an artist is supposed to do,
To make invisible things, visible?
Well, I think so.
And our young Bay Area artist does just that,
All while preserving The Line.
Well done, sir!
A tip of the hat to you.

If you’re interested, check out this month’s special offer

50% Off Family Sessions

Family photography special offer in July and August. San Jose, Bay Area, Silicon Valley.

In July and August, I’m offering a steep discount on family photography. Fifty percent off means you pay only $250 for a one hour session with your family on location or in your home, with a $50 credit for the first five re-touched images you download, ready to print or share on social media. For instance:

Five images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) for a total of $250.

Ten images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) + $50 (next five downloads) for a total of $300.

Fifteen images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) + $100 (next ten downloads) for a total of $350.

Twenty images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) + $150 (next fifteen downloads) for a total of $400.

If you have any questions, please contact me at Kevin@1103photography.com.

I’m eager to chat with you about photographing your family!

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