Takin' It To The Streets
Mark Bolster's Portrait Challenge
Among the things that people
fear, psychologists tell us that giving a speech is number one, coming
even before death or taxes or the appointment of a special prosecutor.
But ask amateur photographers about their fears, and we'd bet
a lot of them would list photographing people as a chief source of dread.
"South Beach was perfect for the kind of customers the company wanted to attract," says Bolster, whose photographic specialties are corporate annual reports, people, and lifestyles. "There are a lot of young people there, and it's an ethically diverse area."
For the idea to work, Bolster
had to achieve real portraits--pictures that captured personality, vitality,
people with attitude. And the people had to be found right there on the
street; then approached, convinced, fitted with a belt, and photographed.
"I try to take as much
of the mystery out of it as I possibly can--mystery tends to evoke fear,
so I told them what we were trying to do, what the assignment was.
Even with professional models,
Bolster likes to direct. "The theory is that the better the model
is, the less you have to direct, but I like to direct a lot because I
think it helps the models. If they're not getting any kind of feedback,
they don't know the direction you want to go. I spend a lot of time
when I'm shooting talking to the models; that's one of the
parts of the job that I enjoy. I'm constantly chatting--it helps
relax the people, and I think it helps relax me, too--and if people see
that you're relaxed behind the camera they immediately relax and
you can get what you want."
For the section of the catalog
showing the company's belts, nine of Bolster's portraits were
used, all the same size on a full page.
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