In recent travels I've been making an effort to take portraits of the people I meet.
At first I set a goal of 50 different people per trip however, this seemed to cheapen the individual interactions as I'd have to bounce from person to person during any available time. I'm now just making the most of any opportunity and making a habit of at least having my 50mm lens with me everywhere I go.
I love the environmental portrait work of the greats like Arnold Newman, Steve McCurry, Henri Cartier-Bresson and so many others. I more often however gravitate to the wonderful diverse faces on this planet and don't provide much background. I'm trying to take both however I get so excited when opportunities present themselves I just get in close and shoot faces.
The 50mm means that I get in quite close to fill the frame which normally creates interesting responses.
I mainly shoot with available light however have bought a silk diffuser and flash remote so I can experiment with more dramatic artificial lighting too. The work I've seen of Phil Borges uses these techniques and is simply stunning! He also did a TED address and seems to work for great causes.
Taking portraits also means I'm having more in depth interactions with locals during my travels which add more dimension to places visited and insight. It is amazing how often people then want their photos taken.
I always make an effort of trying to get either hardcopies printed in a kios or jpegs back to the subjects. However if neither are possible the display on the back provides good entertainment.
I always try and get an understanding of cultural specifics surrounding photographing people and always ask directly or through a guide or translator if available.
It is quite an addictive habit while travelling and a welcome distraction from the intensity of long hours working!!
Most photos of for my own memories and stories however here are a few from recent trips: