I’ve been spending time going through lots and lots of images as I prepare new print portfolios. One group of images sits in a sort of quasi-netherworld, not full-on produced portraits but not candids either. These are images I created for the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
It was a fun project which ran for just over four years, portraits of faculty members and administration. These graced the walls of the light filled hallways, just outside the primary lecture hall, and just off the atrium of their main building, Roberston Hall.
What stayed consistent over the years was the setup: full-frame Canon digital camera, 85mm f/1.2 lens shot anywhere between f/2.0 and f/4, and the subject lit a stop or so under ambient with a Canon flash in an XXS Chimera softbox. Whenever possible the photos were taken outside so that they would feel fresh and open. This also allowed me to challenge myself. Each portrait was limited to ten to fifteen minutes of set up time and ten minutes with the subject. Working with those constraints and photographing as many as fourteen subjects in a day, I did my best to vary the background on each and every image while still staying within a stone’s throw of their main building.
Beyond the lobby display, the portraits were used for publications, press, and development.