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Thursday, 26 May 2022


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I think grip and grin says it all. It is different from a good portrait, or street photography.


Yesterday, I didn't buy a lens. The fiscal board wasn't feeling too happy about the idea. So today, the commiseration department, which I head, bought both All About Saul Leiter and Forever Saul Leiter. Fifty odd dollars will slip through the budget cracks far easier than 75mm worth of f1.25. Might not even have to fall back on blaming my enabler...

Peace & all that.

Hi again.

Back onto the topic of the post, and not the book recommendation, I don't know why, but I have always had the habit of turning or glancing back one more time to say farewell. I tend to turn back and say goodbye once again, or nod or something, just as I step away.

For better or worse (i.e. usually one or the other), it can be revealing. People with a 'face' drop it pretty quickly.


As a former newspaper photographer, I have photographed my share of "grip and grin" photos at various events, politicians, sports celebrities, or other local notables. These people know how to put on their "camera faces" and they are good at it! They usually know when the camera is trained on them and it was sometimes difficult to get a good portrait of them looking more natural or relaxed when I was trying to make an interesting or compelling portrait.

Irving Penn's wonderful portrait of Igor Stravinsky comes to mind. I don’t know whether the story about the mouse is true but if it was, then it was a masterful distraction.

Mike this “gentleman’s” version of a smile reminded me of the old veteran known in the UFC as smilin’ Sam Alvey who enters the ring with a grin like he just was chosen as a contestant on The Price is Right. It quickly changes when the fight starts. The first 35 seconds are all that is needed.
(Don’t watch if you don’t like seeing people hit each other.)

Two of my friends recently completed the annual 10k race in my city. Various pictures of them were taken throughout the race, and in almost every shot, their face says: “I’ve entered a 10k by mistake”

Behind my friend, was a female entrant who looked prepped for a photo shoot. No eye-bulging grimace for this track star who had stepped off Mount Olympus to remind my pal of their mortality as she bounded by their red and regretful face. But the track star finished 5 minutes behind my gasping friend. Maybe the Olympian saved something back to ensure she had a good photo from the day. Human after all

Helmut Newton had a Canon 35mm point+shoot, their first all auto (focus, exposure, wind) model, which he called his party camera. Over the front lens retaining ring there was a white label on which was printed, in all caps with a black sharpie, MAGIC CAMERA. He said that it was very effective in making people laugh.

Brassai was a very dear friend of the Newtons. Helmut told me that, when he and June had first come to Paris, Brassai had done his utmost to get them quickly settled there. He took Helmut around to meet all the photo editors and art directors, helped them to find an apartment, bought them meals and loaned them money.

Cartier-Bresson wrote something very similar to this in the preface to his Tete-a-tete book of portraits.

Very good photo book, which I just returned to the library or else I’d hunt up the paragraph!

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