Now THAT is a child portrait! WOW. I think you have something special there.
Here is another of the series of my boys. Once I determine the general composition, I tend to let them pick their spot and pose in the landscape. Any portrait is a bit of a collaberation between the photographer and the subject(s). I generally only do one set up per trip into the landscape. This is an on-going project (over-due for another image, though!) and I need their willing and (at least) semi-enthusiastic cooperation -- or else the project falls apart.
Here is another -- I have probably posted it before. This was a two-minute exposure.
Three Boys, Three Snags
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
New Years Day, 2008
8x10 Carbon Print
... and another. This really was a "reluctant child" (not belligerent, but not liking the process) until he was told to relax and "be himself".
4x5 view camera with 250mm Fujinon soft focus lens. Ilford FP4, I think.
It's almost always better to involve kids in the process. Worked in Cub Scouts, worked in Boy Scouts. Worked with the parents of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. And it works with me too.
Film photography is all about delayed gratification. Not a concept that develops early in life. So something tangible helps. Was easier when Polaroid film was cheap and plentiful - let the child take a few shots with the Polaroid to get in the mood. Just not the same with digital - it's not as tangible - but perhaps still helpful.
I haven't tried with large format, but I would guess the oddity of a view camera and seeing the reverse image on the GG might help pique interest and foster cooperation.
Also, I happen to believe (but no proof) that getting down on their level helps. IE sit on the floor so you aren't towering over them.
You can pretty much bet that any forced pose will not be worthwhile. But I've seen "studio" photos on the walls of friends and family that I thought were trite and formulaic. Yet they liked them. It's all in the eyes of the beholder.
What I mean is that it is quite easy to make a portrait of a child that the parents will love. It's their child, after all, so even an "advanced amateur snapshot" will have some significance to them. Going beyond that to create a portrait of a child (or adult) that is appealing, intriguing and significant to people who aren't members of their immediate family is quite difficult.
You've created something that concretizes what children really are: marvelous, complex, imaginative, mystical, playful and sometimes sullen or even dangerous. Maybe I'm seeing too far into this because I have three boys (11, 8 and 4) that I know can be so many beautiful and crazy things at the same time.
Thank you, Parker. I was in a 4 person show at a local gallery -- the owner was at first a bit worried when I said I was going to put up images of my boys. She was quite relieved when she saw the prints.
So, now I have an excuse to post another one...
Well, two more
Both 8x10 platinum prints. One with a 210mm and the other with a 159mm.
Vaughn, I remeber your prints vividly. What a treat it was to see your work in-the-hand. I hope to meet your wonderful sons some day.
I've posted 3 work prints from last weeks shoot in the gallery. Feedback appreciated.