I’m not labeling this a SXSW portrait, per say, since I could shoot something like this on any night of the week. Roppolo’s and other pizzerias have windows which face 6th street, for quick ordering and quick photography. But I did shoot this on the first night of SXSW, which is actually ending tonight, after its 10 day run. Come to think of it, I shot last nine photos, all on the same Friday, over a week ago.
I could have made this a black and white, but it would be a shame to lose the wild and complex color created by layers of neon and conventional lights. Ashley’s smile contrasts Blane’s “Blue Steel-ish” look, and the combination of the expression and colors encouraged me to create a grittier than usual portrait. Some extra texture, contrast and saturation, which I usually would not do for a portrait, works for me here.
There’s no doubt that I like dynamic colors and contrasty black and whites. My images are not what you call subtle. I’m not sure if this developed from my original HDR roots or from my comparisons of digital to film. I generally find that film has a richness that digital typically lacks, without some help. Especially when shot in RAW — particularly on Canon’s that I originally started with — the pictures look flat and dull. And while I’ve changed my post-processing technique, over the years, my quest for rich images continues.
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