Identity & Light: Dad

I believe portraits and short stories share a common goal - they should each provide a narrative within a brief span of time and space. This photo series serves to accomplish that goal. Each image tells different parts of a singular story by use of light, composition, and location.

These three images all serve to tell the story of one man: my father, a jack-of-all-trades. His portrait situates him within his workspace, not just a tool bench, but a reliquary. He surrounds himself with the stories told by each artifact in that space. The compass is one such artifact - a tool that belonged to his father, a device to ensure he never got so lost that he couldn't find his way home, even under the harshest circumstances of war. The tree-lined road in the final photo is an extension of the compass. A pathway to wilderness, where the man can lose himself just to find himself again. He is an outdoorsman, a hiker of trails. The compass was passed to him and he has passed his love of outdoors to his son, along with all the lessons it has to offer.

When preparing to take the portrait I looked to Rembrandt for his use of lighting. I placed a light source high and to the side of my subject. Though contrast was important, a reflector was placed opposite of the light to fill in the shadows on the dark side of the face. It was important to me that each of the three images would be visibly related, thus the compass and portrait were shot in the same location and with similar lighting. The mountain road in the final photo leads to a lake which can be viewed in the background of my father’s portrait.