Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The FACES Project

Every year, early in January, I pick some kind of project to focus on in that year. In years past, I've focused on photography, French, Latin, non-fiction writing, Shakespeare, and Dickens. Some years I go all out buying or borrowing books and videos, taking classes, and journaling about my endeavors. Some years are just the opposite, and I lose interest right away.

Last year's good intentions for reading Dickens evaporated quickly once I was busy with other stuff. The good news for Charles Dickens is that 2012 is the 200th anniversary of his birth, and the Free Library of Philadelphia (a reasonable commute for me) is hosting bunches of Dickens-related events: This might jump start last year's project.

Dickens aside, what I really want to dive into this year is photography. I take a lot of photos of places, things, and animals, but I really don't do much with portraits. I am captivated by the photography of Steve McCurry who shoots gorgeous, exotic portraits for National Geographic and other high-profile publications. I went to New York to hear him speak a few years ago, and I was mesmerized by the projected images accompanying his talk. You have seen his work, too: I have decided this year I'll concentrate on portraits. Faces. There's plenty of information for me to get started in the photography books and magazines I already own. I went searching through the photographs I already have and put together a small collection of faces.

While doing this, it occurred to me that animals have to be included in my collection because their faces are so expressive. I included three very different portraits of Gladys the Sheltie that look completely different to me.

The next challenge for me is asking people to let me photograph them. I am very shy about asking people for things, so this will be difficult for me. (I do have a few volunteers lined up already.) These will be realistic photos (not be glamour shots!) with experiments in lighting and backgrounds. If any readers are interested in scoring some free head-shots or profile photos please comment here or shoot me an email. I have no lofty plans for this collection, but if I do decide to publish online or in print, I will make sure to have permission on file. Stay tuned for updates on this, and wish me luck with the asking!

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