The Graduate

By: Gustav Hoiland

Jul 27 2010

Category: portrait

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Focal Length:22mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

After Metered Time

To the poloists, despite posting pure polo pleasures since the tournament, it is not all I shoot, much less show on this here blog. Instead, this image is another example of my continuing practice of making impromptu portraits of friends.

Seeing this fine gentlemen (a friend from high school) for the first time in maybe a year, and likely the last for at least another year, I had the urge to shoot. It wasn’t prompted by noticing some particularly good light, nor was it thanks to any other cues that caught my eye as is usually the case. Instead it was, pure and simple, I have a camera and a flash and would like to make a photo of you. Awkwardness ensued, but hey! Who cares now?

The photo works for me for three reasons. The first is the parking meters. I’ve found repeatedly that any kind of a prop can really enhance a portrait, regardless of what it is, or if it means anything. Standing around in the street at night presented these meters as something to at least sort of interact with. And the interaction is what’s interesting. Here we have a man at ease, just hanging’ in the night, getting his casual on with a parking meter.

Also for the humor of it, or rather in the pursuit of looking too deeply into an image, these meters could be a symbol of sorts for the relationship between time and money. Recently graduated and seeking work, the drain of money continues with every second (if you were to somehow amortize or prorate monthly and daily expenses down to that fraction of time). But there is hope, because it is night, and thus it is after hours. In this quite literally “free time,” there is opportunity and liberation. But the sunrise looms, and when the sun’s rays crest over the horizon, the money begins to burn.

Second thing going here, that shirt! What great contrast to the curvy objects of right, both in color and… I guess it’s this harsh pattern versus these solid three dimensional objects. And the pattern is interrupted by folds of itself which create more stimulation within itself. The two are very separate – stripes on left, designer mailboxes at right (seriously, those things look like they belong in a home that was the height of fashion in the ’70s).

Thirdly is the location of the head. It’s squeezed right up near the top of the frame, close enough for the unseen hair to ever so lightly tickle the edge. There’s a bit more space to the left side, but not much. Do I think this is the bes position? Perhaps not. Do I think it’s interesting? Most definitely. It came about because I was playing around with different croppings and wanted to square this one out, eliminate his right arm, get the meters in tight, and … well, this is just what I came upon.

Best of luck Nateboy!

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