Portraits

Group portraits in black and white

(Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

It has been years since I have been in a black and white darkroom, using chemistry to develop film and prints. I miss the intensity and joy of that process and the work that is needed to take lasting black and white photo portraits.

This week I was digging through my boxes of old prints and found a couple that I gave to a friend, who is featured in one of these two group shots. One is of his extended family who I have known for decades now. The second is of my friend in Vietnam, with his public health colleagues in Hanoi.

The warmth I find in a black and white group portrait, taken on film, can’t be replaced by digital. Digital may provide a level of sharpness and clarity, and simplicity. It still lacks the feeling I always experienced seeing my prints slowly emerge in the developer bath under the safe light of a darkroom, reeking of chemicals.. More than 15 years after I took these shots, I still feel that emotion.

The guy I never beat on the squash court

I had a great lunch recently with an old college friend and former squash partner. I don’t think I ever won a true squash match against J. when we played way, way back in the day in college. (There were some great players at my college, and J. was among them.) Some people are just naturally talented, and J. is a gifted athlete, among many having other fine attributes. My knee prevents me from doing pivot sports, which spares me the need to try and have a rematch. Injuries sometimes can be a blessing. So can good people.

A long-promised gift, portraits in the park

I made a deal with a friend and former grad school classmate to do a photo shoot as a gift, and we finally connected. We had fun. Taking portraits is a really wonderful way to spend quality time with people. You share stories. You connect in meaningful ways. You laugh. You joke. Sometimes you talk about the not-so-happy things too. This was one of the first pictures I snapped, and I loved the result. (Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)