“Untitled” by Stephanie Duprie Routh

In December last year, I had the good fortune of traveling to Mexico for a photography workshop.

The workshop was not as I expected, which was to photograph on the streets of San Miguel de Allende. The instructor, Keith Carter, arranged a field trip and models for the day. Generally, I do not photograph models; nor do I stage or set up images so this was a new experience for me.

Our location was an abandoned yet beautiful hacienda in the countryside. There were several photographers and models on site to take advantage of the gracefully decaying compound.

This particular image came at the end of a 8-9 hour day. The sun was losing its grip on the horizon. The violet sky was quickly ebbing towards a dusty lavender while the wind gently whispered away the day.

We were inside, exhausted, and about to call it quits when I looked outside and saw oranges all over the courtyard. Oranges— in December! We (the model, two other photographers, and I) went out to shoot the last frames of the day. The model spent most of her time in and around the tree. I asked her to walk or run towards the back of the patio, which she did a few times. Those moments are when I made this image.

Photographers and artists talk a lot about how the maker is reflected in every part of their creation. I did not entirely subscribe to this notion until I made this image. So many elements in this photograph are reflective of who I am as a person. Now, I consider it a somewhat unorthodox self-portrait. Because it is one of my all-time favorites, I have a 24”x36” print hanging in my home. I have the pleasure of seeing the image and myself within it, reminding me of the beauty of that place and time.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

I think the tonal qualities in this image contribute greatly to its success. The red of the robe, the oranges, all against a heavily textured and mottled gray background help the viewer stay in the image even though the subject is moving outward. The movement of the subject, as seen in the flow of the robe, and the slight blur of the oranges (that’s a secret trick! – the oranges were still but the blur was made in camera during the “click” of the shutter) give a dynamic feel to the image. Because the viewer cannot see the person’s head or what they are moving towards, a storybook concept evolves.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I might have included less foreground and a bit more body at the top of the frame.

Stephanie Duprie Routh shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Stephanie Duprie Routh, Austin, TX, USA

Equipment and Settings

Leica Q
f/11, 1/15sec., ISO 100

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Comments (5):

  1. Dave kyle

    November 19, 2020 at 09:56

    Interesting story. The colours are beautiful, rich and balanced. Unusual but arresting composition. Lover it.

  2. Sue adorjan

    November 19, 2020 at 12:04

    Love the story of your image. Beautiful

  3. Nigel Walker

    November 19, 2020 at 15:54

    Great story and image. I certainly subscribe to a notion which means some of ourself enters our photographs however, even though we may not realise or understand it. It seems to me that it is what makes us click the shutter at a certain point or consider this viewpoint and not that one. Once I took that on board in my own practice then I started to make some much better photographs with a greater storytelling content. That my just be me but I offer it to you as a consideration. I look forward to seeing more of your photographs in future.

  4. JiÀhn Charlotte

    November 20, 2020 at 05:24

    Beautiful image Stephanie. Love the composition, colouring and particularly that hint of movement.

  5. Rita

    November 20, 2020 at 16:00

    I believe that everything we take a photograph of is a self portrait, it, in my view represents facets of our personality. It can be what is happening to us at any specific time that makes us respond to our environment and makes us press that shutter button, that decisive moment. It always amazes me that when we are given the same subject to photograph the breadth and diversity of the images produced is amazing. I am a fine artist primarily and relate to what you say.
    I am glad you had it printed, you now have an object, a piece of art and not just an image on a computer. Love your photograph, it makes you wonder, and that is wonderous.


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