Hi everyone and welcome to todays post. I will be out of town again for a week and thought I would get this story up before heading out. I would like to introduce you to Dr. Doug, a man I am glad to call an acquaintance, and one I would be proud to call a friend. Dr. Doug leads guided mental health sessions and group therapy from the porch of the trading post at the Terlingua Ghost Town. Whatever your issue just grab a bear, have a seat, and just let it go. If you have time stay and watch the sun set for his expanded sessions. I met Dr. Doug during my last Big Bend workshop. Craig Tanner, from The Mindful Eye, had asked us to shoot a series of portraits of workshop participants, and if time permitted, grab one of the local inhabitants and shoot a portrait of them. Craig was really pushing my buttons on this assignment. I just do not consider myself a people photographer, with more of an inclination to shoot rocks, plants, and landscapes. I find that human interaction from behind a camera is tough for me. It is a learned skill and I do try to engage people who interest me whenever I can. When we operate from a place of fear we can invent all kinds of stories that keep us from overcoming that fear. The trick is to recognize it, accept it as irrational, and work proactively to overcome the fear. Easier said than done.
Well, if I had not tackled this assignment I would not have spent a great afternoon drinking beer and talking about everything and nothing with Dr. Doug. It was a chance meeting that would have gone by and I would have been the loser. I had finished shooting my partner, so I bought a Lonestar and found an inviting seat in the warm, afternoon sun. Within minutes here comes this charismatic character with a long beard, befitting a civil war general, who sits down beside me. We started talking and soon we were trading our stories, laughing, toasting, and just soaking up the Texas afternoon. This went on for some time when I finally got up the nerve to ask if I could shoot a few portrait shots. “Why absolutely”, he said. A couple of beers and about 30 shots later I got this one. It is Dr. Doug to a “T”. The deep, caring eyes, draw me in every time I look at this image. To me it says a lot about this man who has experienced so much of life.
I started with basic shots to feel my way into the shoot and then moved in close. Close is where the magic seems to happen. If you and your subject can move past this comfort zone, or “discomfort zone” as I like to call it, I believe portraits that capture a persons real personna can be achieved. Doug turned away for just a second and as I moved in for a tighter, more intimate shot he turned back to the camera, raised his eye and I tripped the shutter.
The image was shot RAW and processed with a preset called Aged Photo in Lightroom. From there I applied my own processing tweaks in Photoshop.
Thanks for stopping by today. I’ll see you in about a week.