Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Channeling Martin Schoeller






Martin Schoeller is a very famous portrait photographer with a unique and instantly recognizaable style.

At right is a portrait he took of Jack Nicholson, which is pretty representative. Schoeller is shootng up close to his subject and uses two vertical strip lights, one on each side of the camera. Notice the two catchlights in the eyes. The expressions tend to be serious or almost blank. The eyes are in very sharp focus but most of the rest of the head falls out of focus fairly quickly.

His subjects are almost always squared up to the camera. And the background lighting is always brightest close to the shoulders and less bright higher in the image.

Here’s another portrait Schoeller did, of Timothy Geitner, for the New York Times Magazine cover last weekend.





I’m intrigued by Schoeller’s work. It certainly causes the viewer to look twice. And there is a strong connection between the subject and the viewer.


You can see more of Schoeller’s work here.

I think the technique works better for men than for women. Cate Blanchett was likely game for this picture, as there are thousands of flattering images of her. But I’m not going to try this lighting technique on my female clients unless they ask for it!

This morning in the studio, I experimented with Schoeller’s style with a few selfies. I had some with the blank/serous look, but decided to edit one with at least a hint of a smile.

I’d love to know what you think.








Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”



Find What You Love


The two pictures in this post are of Megan, an aspiring model. Megan loves to model. During our recent shoot, it was rare that I captured her without a smile. She has found something she loves to do.

Find What You Love. I hope you will read this article by a British concert pianist. Then, please come back here! Find What You Love.

James Rhodes showed extraordinary courage and determination to pursue his passion.

For me, I took a somewhat different – and admittedly easier –  path. I retired early from the business world, without a clear idea of what I wanted to do next. I had always been an avid amateur photographer, so I took some photography courses at a local art school. One particular course, on studio lighting, really grabbed a hold of me. I want to do this! Without quite knowing how to proceed, I began to look for a studio and found my current space five years ago this month. I bought some studio lights and began to teach myself how to use them. While I took courses, workshops and private instruction from more experienced photographers, most of my training is self-taught. This is the hard way, but was the right path for me.

I absolutely love taking portraits of people – in the studio or any other location. It’s what gets me excited every morning. I work really hard to improve my skills and learn new techniques. In business, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to use the right side of the brain. I’m making up for lost time now – and having a ball. Right now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

There was a fork in the road for me. When I took that lighting course, I could have said, “Gee, that looks like fun, but I’m too old to start this now.” Or – “I’ll never be as good at this as the teacher – so why bother?” I give thanks every day that, somehow,  I took a leap of faith.

Have you found what you love? I hope so. Are you doing it? I hope so.  If not, is it time now to make that leap?

“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.







Shooting at MoMA (Part Two)

This is part two of a series of posts about photographing people looking at artwork at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. If you missed Part One, see it here. The woman above got very close to this Jackson Pollock, leaning in some times, perhaps in hopes it might make more sense that way. I’m still struggling with Pollock’s work – viewed at any distance.

So, this was a painting that caught my attention. I agree with the message – but what does it say about itself as a work of art? No one seemed much interested in lingering over this one.

Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World is one of the most famous paintings of the 20th Century. (and one I can get my arms around more easily than the Jackson Pollock painting). I was intrigued that this photograph showed more of the viewer’s face than is shown of Christina’s face in the painting. What is the viewer thinking? Perhaps she is imagining what is going on in Christina’s mind. And your humble photographer/blogger is wondering about both women’s thoughts and feelings.

This gentleman stared at this painting for a LONG time. He listened to the audio guide, then checked out the work from straight on, the left side, the right side, up close and far back. He was totally absorbed, which made my job much easier. I never got “caught” on this one, even though I took over a dozen pictures of him.

Here’s our friend from the first post, still up on her toes on one foot.

You may be wondering why I didn’t show the whole painting here – but even if  you saw all the words, it still wouldn’t make sense. This woman had taken a picture of the work on her iPad, hoping that would reveal the paintings hidden secrets.

Remember Patty Hearst? Loved the Red Keds and green shoulder bag here – colors likely not featured in Patty Hearst’s fashion palette.

This kid was intently studying these paintings – each one a flat black rectangle, nicely matted and framed. Maybe the audio guide helped here – or perhaps going down in a catcher’s crouch provided the answers.

Out in the sculpture garden, this fellow got down low to capture these fountains on his iPhone. His friend, out of the picture frame, and I gave each other knowing glances.

Let me know what your reactions are to these pictures. As always, I appreciate your interest in my work.

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

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