I’m finishing this SXSW ’18 Portrait series today, with Courtney. Courtney is friends with Daevonnie, who I featured two days ago. Like that causal photo shoot, I took this picture on the second floor of The Belmont during the Vox Media event.
I think it’s instructive, at least for me, to compare this year’s portrait series to last year’s. I used the same camera, The Olympus PEN-F and the same lens, the Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 but there are differences too. Last year, I started experimenting with these black and white portraits. Many were out of camera JPEGs, using the Olympus “Mono Profile 2” mode.
This year, while I still used and framed the portraits using the built-in monochrome mode, all the featured photos are black and whites converted from RAWs. With over a year of using Capture One, my RAW processing software, I’ve become better at tweaking the subtle details that, I think, make a tangible difference.
I had the benefit of better light this year, since most were shot outside. Beyond that, I’m not sure if my portrait taking skills have improved. But I enjoyed creating this series and I think it was a worthwhile exercise.
It’s always a balancing act to either continue with a series and do the same thing for continuity sake or do something new and break new ground. I’m not sure if I have the balance right. But I think my subjects, techniques and style have shifted throughout the years. It’s all part of the quest for photographic growth.
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