Taking photos of my people is my favorite thing to do.
When I first began seriously studying photography, portraits were a big part of the learning process. I talked a friend, one of my photographic mentors, Joe, into posing. Those shots turned out nicely.
My next subject was Kady. She and the kids were visiting me in Izmir in the Summer of 1985. She is such an amazing beauty that taking a beautiful photo of her was super easy.
I prefer natural light. Though I have the equipment to do studio portraits, I rarely use it. My brother, the art professor, told me that if I wanted to perfect my technique and build a personal style, I should study the Dutch Masters. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer is my standard. Give me a window, soft morning light, a face that I find interesting, and I'm set!
Below are portraits I have taken over the years, choosing my favorite photos of each person.
My son and one of the finest men I know, I, of course, have taken photos of him all of his life . . . until recently. I just can't pin him down; the lad is busy.
Wearing my Patrol Cap, with his sister, returning from Iraq, Lexington after the military.
My daughter arrived as I was beginning to get serious about photography. She became one of my favorite subjects. Where once she loved for me to take her photo, now she refuses to let me.
This is a battle I am willing to fight until she relents.
Here are a few from back in the day.
Church Crookham, UK
Silverwood, Lex Vegas
Charlottesville, VA, 2020
When my daughter-in-law said she needed photos, I envisioned something more grandeur than a profile photo for LinkedIn and her personal web page.
Nikon D850, 55-200 mm, f/ 1.4 - 5.6
Above is a photo I took at a wedding as she paints a portrait of the Bride and Groom during the ceremony and reception.
Forest Lakes, Virginia
Em is always up for photos with Granddaddy.
I was very lucky on the action shot. I pretty much suck at sports photography, but I'm working on it.
Above, she is helping me test out my new flash diffuser.
Em. I hope I get to take photos of her in her 30s.
No child has been more photographed. I took a ton, you know, first grandchild and all that goes with that. His Kady did too. Even the Cadets and VMI Photographer got in the act.
He was a gorgeous child and is as handsome in his mid-teens. How could he miss? Great Genes.
Maryland, 16 October 2021, after our Family Autumn Farm Trip
This may be the beginning of a fantastic collaboration between grandfather and granddaughter.
Taken in the afternoon sun, just before nap time with her Kady dazzling her with a squeaky-toy, SGM took her fingers out of her mouth just as I pushed the shutter release.
At left is Grandad's Christmas Photo.
Nikon D850, 50mm
Church Crookham, England, United Kingdom, 1989
I took this photo of Sally, our best friend, and my dancing and drinking partner, during a visit while we were station with the Paras. It was a good time.
Those long walks back home from Eushot Pub were hilarious.
Sal is still as beautiful as she approaches her 70s.
Available light, Plus-X Pan, Canon AE-1 Program. The reticulation here was from rinsing with warm water. A really stupid mistake on my part. I took three 36-exposure rolls this day, and completely destroyed two of them. these two are what was left of the third roll.
I worked on them, HEAVILY, in Photoshop.
The left photo, I colorized. I like how it turned out.
Above: Peaks View Park, Lynchburg, Virginia 2014
Former cadet and young friend, Ryan, and I have had four photo sessions together. This is from the first. Every session has produced some pretty fabulous photos. Credit the Model!
Left: McKethan Park, Lexington, Virginia
I got a text and photo from this lovely young lady saying, "This dress needs photos." I slipped out of the office and met her at McKethan Park.
I had to agree with her, the dress did, indeed, need photos.
As did the girl.
NIKON D5100, 40 mm
Taken with a Nikon D5100 on two different shoots.
Downtown Charlottesville with a D850 Nikon, a Mamiya 6 with 400 TX, and with a Mamiya RZ-67 with Portra 400, respectively.
Ryan in 400 TX in a Contax T2. I should have kept this camera.
Izmir Turkey, Summer 2001
This lady owned Divas Ajans, a modeling agency in Izmir. She enlisted me to photograph her models at car shows and openings around Izmir.
Of all the girls I photographed that summer, she was my favorite subject. She taught me more about photographing women than I could ever get from a book.
She was in charge of every photo that I took, like here - she's wearing my glasses because "a businesswoman should look professional."
We remain good friends.
Canon A-1, Ektachrome
The shot above was taken with a 1.3MP Sony Sure Shot.
Sometimes, I mess up so badly that it takes me years to get over it. In the case of these photos, it took me 21.
Really! How often do old guys get to hang out with and then photograph someone who looks like this? You'd think I would have taken great care to get it all right.
This is Berna, Sevda's good friend, on the night I met the two of them That's my grandfather's rocking chair she's sitting in. We became good friends and still talk on Insta.
I took these with my trusty A-1 and Ektachrome. Either I flubbed the exposure badly or the Local Turkish developer messed u. Either way, they will never be great photos. I worked on them until they are passable.
I should have taken so many more.
Another of the Girls of Summer 2001, Smiley, introduced herself to my friends and me by telling us we should buy her a beer.
She became my closest friend for those three months, refusing to let me sit at home, thinking. She was the best tour guide in Izmir.
A math teacher by trade, her English was solid. She served as my translator when out with my Turk friends or visiting my favorite bars and clubs. She was, also, my favorite photographic subject among all of the beautiful things to photograph in Turkiye.
I bought lots of beer that summer.
The First Captains
Lexington and Charleston 2010
A member of my Inner Circle, she was at the house often but I have only had two opportunities to photograph her. The first was for her dad's birthday.
I never heard if he liked them, but I did. What's not to like?
The second was when I visited her in Charleston and she took me sightseeing.
I'm not sure what caught her eye, but we went, but we went to a Sushi place across the street right after. Yeah. That's it. Sushi. We're fans.
Sony DSC - HX1
Close friend and Traveling Partner, SS, is rarely up for photos. He has, on a very few occasions allowed me to snap a few.
The shot above was taken at the Colorado National Monument. I shamed him. "What? You wanna come all the way out here and have no record of it? OK, maybe I just said, "Let me take a photo of you up here."
The shot on the left was taken in Savannah, GA (actually Pooler, but who wants to say that?) where he sat for me in Available light as I tested out my new D850 and 50mm Lens.
I need to take photos of him on his farm down in Tennessee.
The man has a great face.
Antietam 2010 / Lexington 2011
I have taken more photos of this young lady than any other person, so many that she calls me "my photographer" on social media. When I die and my work becomes world-famous, the years 2010 and 2011 will probably be known as the "Dwyn Period."
She was a joy to work with, shy at first, but becoming more confident with each shoot. My camera loved her.
We made beautiful photos together.
Taken with various cameras over eleven years. Fun with Available Light, Blue Jean Skirt on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Waiting on a Train, and Summer on the Maury
Oh Yeah! She is also an accomplished belly dancer.
For the bargain price of "$ Pose with my Mustang," I took a series of photos for Erin for her College Senior Portraits.
She was Sarah's "Big Sister" at Mary Baldwin and a frequent visitor to our house. I was totally OK with that and very happy to take her photo. She is a lovely person through and through.
She's married to a Navy Aviator, a VMI Grad, and a great guy.
Yankee Horse Ridge, Blue Ridge Parkway 2012
My daughter's college roomie came to work at VMI after her time in the Army. I had taken her photo when she was in college, which produced some nice portraits, so we talked about, so we talked about doing another shoot.
During Exams, when there wasn't much for us to do, she and I went to the Blueridge. It turned out to be a perfect day.
She liked these so much that she had me take photos with her little sister two weeks later. Those turned out well, too.
Working with Sarah was amazing. She moved seamlessly from pose to pose, pausing for the shutter, knowing what she wanted. I never had to say a word.
Sisters, Natalie and Sarah
2008 Lexington, VA
When my Brother Rat, Erica '04, called to ask if we could do photos, I, of course, said YES. She didn't mention that she was bringing her dogs. This was my first time working with animals, and, though I took over 200 photos that day, these are the only ones I would use. She was trying to control two dogs, I was frustrated, and the dogs controlled the shoot.
It was a good lesson.
I use what I learned this day whenever I take photos of friends or couples - the photographer must establish and maintain control. When working with animals, bring snacks and toys.
Still, I finally got to take photos of Erica; I love her look.