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Regarding Heroes – #TechTuesday

// Author: James // 0 Comments

I have a book sitting next to me called “Regarding Heroes.” It’s the gallery book for a show of Yousuf Karsh’s work. What it makes it incredibly dear to me is that in it is a note from Estrellita Karsh. It was a unexpected gift from Mrs. Karsh and one that I treasure.

I can’t say that it is pristine. It’s starting to get a little worn around the edges. That’s what happens when you don’t leave it on the shelf I suppose.

We have known Kate (Kate has known us?)… well we’ve been friends for a while. She reminded me yesterday that it has been 11 years. That’s a long time. But, I’ve never photographed her solo.

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The other day I started getting a pang of something. Something emotional, something that I had to put together, something I had to explore. Karsh, but something else.

For me Karsh is more than a style or an image. It is an approach to photography, an approach to interacting with your subject, and a certain amount of self respect. If you know his history you know he is a survivor of the Armenian genocide. An immigrant to the United States he learned his craft in Boston. I don’t know if it was the same neighborhood I used to live in but it may have been (near the MFA). From the interviews I have seen he was known for his demeanor and style during a shoot. He was a craftsman and an artist.

In many respects I feel as though we are at the beginning of the road of our work. We have reached a level of technical competence. But, now is where we practice nuance.

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Yesterday Kate stopped by in the afternoon. We sat across from each other and tried not to laugh too much. This was the most time we’ve ever spent looking at each other. Well, mostly me looking at Kate and her looking alternately at me and an imaginary point.

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There are number of technical things that I did differently in this shoot than from other shoots. Nuances of change. I started with something I liken to Karsh (take no offense – I know it’s sort of like saying I started with a dutch master) and move through light and shadow to something I had been trying to picture in my head.

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Since this is something we were just doing for us there is no real beginning or end. It wasn’t good or bad, right or wrong. I haven’t really absorbed it and these are just the images that jumped out at me.  There is something more here to explore. So, I guess it is a beginning. Thanks Kate!

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If you know Kate and didn’t recognize her in the earlier photos this last one on the left  is sure to ring a bell. That’s Kate.