Friday, October 23, 2009

Self Portrait 2009

self portrait 2009

This is a self portrait I had been working on for a bit. I had scouted the location and went back a few times. The first time I attempted this I had only an on camera flash which i tried bouncing off a back wall for fill lighting. It looked ok, but I was not quite illuminated enough and too much of the interior became lit as well, taking away from the dark and moody ambiance of the area. So, I went back with a few flash heads and a light stand and came up with something I feel is close enough to what I was trying for.
So, anyway, here it is. Would love to know what you feel about it.


Kathy said...

Awesome photograph. Makes me wonder what you are thinking....

Sheila said...

Wow! First of all, this is a whole other side of you I have not been witness too. I know the bon vivant and dapper looking man in the avatar. I know the great dad and professional guy who works with the city. I know the fun guy who appreciates his girl friend for putting up with his goofiness sometimes.

Now this man...who is he? A hard working man, a bit disheveled after a hard day's work; who seen a lot of life and yet choses to continue to see the beauty in all that he comes across?

Besides he kind of looks like Liam Neeson who I think is HOT!!

Brayton Homestead Interiors said...

Wonderful self portrait. Besides the obvious good looks, what comes to mind for me is a contemplative man, full of deep thoughts,not sad~ not happy (or maybe both)? but definetly deep. With the exception of just the slightest smirk! I do not know you, but these are similar thoughts I have when I look at your wonderful work.

Pretty Things said...

Incredible, and awe-inspiring. That's a man I'd like to get to know, someone I'd approach shyly, hoping I'd be cool enough that he'd share a moment of his time with me.

Gary Heller said...

Thanks Kathy, Sheila, Karen, and Lori- your feedback is what I need to see this with a "fresh" set of eyes.
I find it hard at times, and I think most of us that create in any way do to step away from your work and try to view it with an unbiased set of eyes.

Kathy, thanks, I try to stir up some mystery and a sense of isolation. I find comfort in having my space and solitude and I think I try to refelct that in much of my work

Sheila, what a fantastic and insightful breakdwon. I realized when I posted this that many only know me from the "dapper" avatar that i have, which i feel is not really a true portrayal of myself. I am most comfortable in being casual and although i think i fool myself into thinking otherwise I do have that disheveled look too often. . .
Sheila, you have a unique and uncanny ability to sum people up with very little information or just tidbits here and there. You must have been an incredible asset to the Police department.

Karen, thanks for the time to leave your thoughts which are always very meaningful. True, neither happy or sad and usually bouncing back and forth between the two but most alwasy landing somewhere in the middle.
Living in a world where there are so much suffering, I came to terms with the fact that i will never be truly happy, but i have come to terms and a compromise that i can live with.

Lori, Oh,cool enough!? Although i don't always find the time to comment I do read a lot of your posts and anyone that has gone through breaking their legs and arms a few times, one from military training and living in a rain forest for a few months as a kid amongst creating some of the coolest jewelry and being featured in various magazines . . .is plenty cool.
Thanks so much for the feedback on this portrait

angelshair said...

I love it! Like the other one( in a door), and like I feel in your work: A man in conversation with his soul!

DJ said...

Thoughtfully looking back on his life, he sees the many dim panels of memories on the wall, but they are diminished by the possibility of a very differently lighted future as glimpsed in the window...

I'm just saying.

David Kassan said...

great composition, sorta of a truncated Caravaggio "Calling of Saint Matthew" Great mood.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

If I came upon you sitting there, like that - I would not interrupt.

You seem to be deep in thought - somewhat world weary - a tad tired, perhaps even depressed. Whatever the case may be, the light around you acts as a sort of boundary - saying 'give me this time alone'.

Perhaps all projections - but you asked.

Beautiful depth in composition and mood, Gary.

Jill Berry said...

perfectly illuminated~

The Daily Connoisseur said...

This is such a powerful picture... I love it! Do you do portraits of other people as well as self portraits?

willow said...

Very moody, very evocative. I like the way you're looking toward the light with just the hint of a rye smile. Gorgeous location. Love-love-love it, Gary!!!

From the O-Zone said...

An excellent shot. It seems to represent a time of reflection - not in the best of surroundings, but life doesn't always give you those.

Victoria Bennett Beyer said...

I love that this is a little dark. Through reading your blog I have gotten a sense that you are a deep thinker, an old soul. I really like this portrait that reflects that seriousness.

Daryl said...

Haunting .. the dark works well as a contrast to both you and the light from the window ...

Gary Heller said...

Amazing, I love to hear your interpretations of the photo. I am a bit embarassed to an extent because you have all seemed to pick up on many of the things that are telling of who I am and what this space and my place in it means.

AngelsHair, that is great. i like that interpretation very much. I always find myself in deep introspection and that is an eloquent way of calling a day dreamer :)

DJ, thanks for the thoughts That is very cool. i never thought of it like that but it goes very deep. Love the perspective on it.

David, I'm glad to have you drop in, man. I look forward to getting together for another venture in creative spirit. I would urge everyone to drop in on Davids site. An amazing artist whose name you will hear often in the future.

Bonnie, you nailed me. . . Thanks for your time to share your interpretation and perspective on this endeavor.

Jill, Thanks you, and i'm glad you mentioned the illuminated part. i had been experimenting with less light on myself and more ambient light around me and vice versa. I ultimately felt the dark mood of the room was essential and one reason why i was there in the first place and so it was more about me in the light of the window in the dark room, to sum it up. I'm happy to know you feel the lighting is right.

Daily Connoisseur, I appreciate the time. I never got into doing portraits of others and alwasy actually avoided the human element in much of my work. Lately, though i have been thinking about portraits and photos of others but it would have to allow me to incorporate some of my own vision, rather than a Sears Portrait studio type thing.

Willow, can you really see that smile!? I did not want to appear to be smiling and at the same time did not want to look stressed or defeated. I thought it was subtle enough but I am really in my joy when I'm alone and focusing on my work and in a location that intrigues me.
Thanks, i don't know where you find the time to drop in with your immense following. . .

From the Ozone, Very true, we are not always presented with the best surroundings, but I always find something beautiful to behold in the most unlikely of places.
thanks for your time

Victoria, coming from a photographers whose work i respect as yours that is well received.
thanks much.

Daryl, thanks for the thoughts. I'm glad this has come across as i had hoped it would.

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR / ARTIST said...

Compelling photograph:

Eerie; from the cracked cobwebbed panes to the use of tones, which set the scene - reflecting your mood, perhaps.

This could well be the cover of a novel: Model material ... huh? lol

Intriguing ... says so much, yet not enough. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so new to photography (my first class a few months ago). I can only comment by what my eyes appreciate here:

You look like an artist dreaming awake.

I love the room. The repeated texture around you of the square paned windows on a square stone wall, to the horizontal lines in the squares. I like the bricks you are leaning against and the opening of a door and a window in a dark place.

Especially I like the lighting of the photo and the muted colors. It would not be same picture at al if the room was flooded with color and bright light.

I have to say, as a woman, it is a place I woud be afraid to enter and shoot away! So there is something intriguing about how relaxed you look in a place that has the edge of an abandoned, unseen space. Is "a great place to shoot a very masculine shot" too politically incorrect to admit outloud?

I learn from your blog every time I come here!

Gary Heller said...

Thanks Sharon, i really like the thought "Intriguing ... says so much, yet not enough. :)"
I would hope to include enough to keep one interested but not enough to completely satisfy. There should always be the longing for more.

Meredith, thats great that your in photography classes. It is true what you point out about the lighting of the room. If the cameras exposure meter had its way it would either be too dark ( if I had most of the bright window in the frame) or much too bright (if more dark areas were within cameras metering matrix) It's important to be able to understand what the siutation calls for and make the setting, or overide the cameras setting yourself.
I wanted the windows to be exposed well so as to keep the details of the cracks and the various colors and hues intact. So I set exposure to keep the windows from over exposing. This meant a very dark room, and so using one of the strobes i was able to shed some fill light around to illumniate the interior.
With Digital, its quick to see what you settings look like after each adjustment.
Have fun with it, and feel free to throw any questions you may have at me. :)

David Burns Smith said...

Wonderful work as always!

Lokelani Forrest said...

Hi Gary...I happened on your blog by way of Sheila's blog and find myself very, very impressed with your work. Your self portrait is amazing. It exudes so much emotion and so reminiscent of Caravaggio's work with lights and darks. I think I shall become one of your followers.

Gary Heller said...

Thank you David and Lokelani. It is alwasy nice to hear the good feedback.
I love the work of Caravaggio and the use of hard light and dark shadows and so the twice mentioning of it here is really exciting.
Thanks much for your time to stop by and share your thoughts.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

I really love the mood you captured. It is almost as if you were looking out a "prison" cell window toward the light. The man could be recently homeless, down and out. I'm not sure if that was your intent but it seems like a powerful social commentary to me. BTW, you are very photogenic and should do more!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

Catalina Lemus Fett said...

It's a great photo. The light and contrast are in harmony. It has a melancholic air that fits precisely to the site, abandoned.

An honor to have come to your blog.