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