Word and Image

Portrait

Faceless

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I thought of this while sitting in a tavern waiting for our pizza (gluten free) to be brought to the table. Idle minds… and voila!

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There are a myriad of ways to do this image. This was my way. We thought it came out about as humorously as we had hoped.


Face

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You see kids make faces. This one stands out from the usual. Well, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it. Cute! Why? What? I’ve no clue. She just posed spontaneously and I had a camera in hand. I can only tell you that I was taking so many pictures that my subject was no longer self conscious with a camera in my hand.


Portrait

I saw a poster in the pet shop offering to shoot cat portraits. Ha ha! Animals are not easy to photograph. You cannot talk to them and expect compliance. Cats do as they please. Mine are resigned. It was like that with my kids too. Let dad take his pictures and then maybe he will go away. My cats take no offence with my photos. Elle would run at the sight of a camera when we first met. Now she sits patiently. No harm no foul. I would like to do a portrait for you.


Employment

I’m searching for a new job. Photographer. Anyone with an iPhone is a photographer now. Need one? There are tons of poorly composed images. As in, bad composition. No matter. The tons of bad pictures make it hard to do business as a portrait photographer. You already have many many pics. The need to have a good one is much less when you consider the cost to pay for a good shot. Commercial? Not so easy either. If any of it were easy I guess there would be a great many professional photographers. I guess it’s easy enough. There are a lot of professionals. Big camera = professional? I wish. For the purchase price of a Nikon DSLR you are in! Hardly… as in nope! I fancy myself a cat portrait specialist today. They posed. Quirky, or straight on and into my camera. It works. I have better shots of cats than of my kids lately. Ha, my cats are captive and available.

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There is no posing with cats. They do behaviors in their own time. Yawn or otherwise is not a thing that I can conjure. Spontaneous, it’s a fortuitous capture.

Lie still, don’t move. That works for me most of the time. I move in and shoot. They stare at me like I’m out of my mind. It works for both of us. No group shots please.

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Elle, my most favorite cooperative model. She would run at the sight of a camera when we first met. Now, she’s resigned. What? Picture time? Ho hum…. She hides. I hunt her down…

Do you need a portrait? I know someone…

 

 


Cat portrait

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Okay okay, they are not all looking into the camera. Manipulated? You bet! It took me more than 100 shots to combine and get seven cats into this picture. No cats were harmed in the filming. Two were highly reluctant. Two posed spontaneously. The last three were confused participants. One posed multiple times. In the end I have a portrait of the kids. Three sets of twins and Elle. It was easy in the end. You are looking at the final product. Someone asked me if I liked using Photoshop. No, but I do have some skills.

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This was our Christmas card for this year. What will we do next year? 9..10 cats?


Symmetry

I got a couple shots of the kids with flowers. Classic. It’s a retrospective look. I scanned my old slides and these popped out for comment. They are like old familiar friends. I just never put them together like this. Side by side. They have stood the test of time. I liked them from the moment they were developed and I still do. Of course, the kids got old. They are still my kids…just older. Still cute. Shhh… don’t tell ‘em I said that.


Back

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My camera (the “big one”) took a hit in October and has been in repair for a couple months. Yeah, it was a major injury to body and lens. Major surgery was done and the cosmetic damage repaired as well. And it works like a top again. Yay!


No fish…

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…on a roll here… I am not a cat person. Dogs are easy. You call. They come. You feed them. They wag their tail. Cats are entirely different deal. Love ‘em or hate ‘em they are just not the same as anything else. Personality. They do not come when called. They wag you not their tails. They get under your skin and you are hooked. Elle is shy. She turns away from the camera whenever it points in her direction. I use street photography to get her. I hold the camera and don’t look like I’m taking a picture. She will not let me hold or hug her. She will come to me for petting when she wants. And I am so glad to touch her, I pet her every single time. Immediately. She has me trained.

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It’s all in the eyes. Lulu, too, has green eyes. Piercing! That is the feature. That’s it. I’ve got pictures of all the cats that have been around me lately. Each time I look at the stunning riveting eyes. I have a lot of memories and the totem is their picture. Green eyes. Stunning. They stop you in your tracks. I know someone with green eyes too. Yup, it’s true.


Shy

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Shisha – it’s what they smoke. I know it as a water pipe. Hookah, another name. It connotes smoking through water. I read that the dose of toxic nicotine is equivalent to hundreds of cigarettes in a single session of smoking shisha. Don’t do it! It’s bad for you.

It started when I passed a store that sells water pipes. It was the tip of the iceberg. Around Jeddah there are stores which will sell you custom made thobes. The stores are congregated in a few places. There might be a dozen or more shops side by side competing for business. There is another location for honey and another for olive oil, dates, and so forth. It’s silly economics. All the prices must be comparable.

The water pipe stores are on a narrow street. And then, much to my surprise, an artisan was right there. He was working away in an open shop with horrible fluorescent lighting. I paused, he looked up, and I did something I never do; I asked if he minded if I took his picture. And he was okay with it. And I got a couple. I did not try to overstay my welcome. Yay! It’s street photography and ordinarily I just shoot and look like I’m doing something else. But we were eye to eye. There was no hiding intent. And he was gracious and I said thanks. We had our moment and I moved on. I’d buy one. They sell his product next door. But, I don’t smoke. So, no…


Buddies

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I hide out in an alcove of the hospital. No office. Nowhere to hide. There was an area on the second floor…but they told me people would hide out and have sex. Damn, why do I always miss out on stuff like that. So I am being harassed by my buddies. They make fun that they see me sleeping when they walk by. I know it’s not true because they have never complained about my snoring. Faisal is on the right. He is from Yemen and is my gym buddy. He calls to wake me when I pass out on the gym mat. Rida is my neighbor in the compound and the chief of eye surgery. The whole body – and all he cares about is 2 square centimeters of eye. Yeah, pretty funny. Obviously I was not sleeping. I took the picture! Right? Yes, it’s not much of a portrait, but then again this was not a beauty contest.