Assignment Criteria – Shoot an environmental portrait of someone in your neighborhood or community, edit appropriately, and provide a narrative description of your approach and technique. Tell us some about the person as well.
I really liked the idea of an environmental portrait. I have never taken a picture like this before and it really put me out of my comfort zone; but, I really enjoyed the experience and the end product. It also helped that I was a really good family friend of the farmer, and he was more than happy to talk and allow me to take pictures. This assignment also sparked a lot of ideas for my photo story. I decided to add some contrast to the image, darken the shadows, bring down the highlights, and up the whites a bit. Due to the directional light, which I did end up liking in the end, being very strong and harsh. The left side of his body was washed out, so I was very happy with this end result. I also wanted to separate the subject from the background by adding some clarity and contrast, but still keep the cows in the images and not darken them too much. I wanted an eye level approach for this portrait. I thought an important message to convey was one of equal stature. This seemed like a more neutral pose, and I felt the viewer could connect with the subject more. He is an ordinary man living a good life with his family, doing what he loves.
The farmer pictured here has been a good family friend for as long as I can remember. He is generally a hobbyist farmer, working during the week and tending to his farm in his spare time. He owns around 350 acres, not that much, but enough to keep him happy with what he does. He rears male Holstein cows from adolescence to adulthood, buying them at a young age, and finally sending them to slaughter when they are ready. One of his youngest daughters is preparing to show one of the adult cows at an upcoming 4-H fair. He provides for his family, as well as selling beef to close friends and family, and some others through the grapevine.