I’ve always been pretty happy shooting almost everything exclusively with a 50mm prime lens. For those of you unfamiliar with photography terms, a 50mm gives you a standard view; not too wide, not too close. Just right.
Lately though, I’ve been integrating a 15mm lens into my repertoire, giving me a much wider perspective work with. With a wider angle it’s easy to get sloppy with composition, and can be hard to keep your subject the focus the of the photo. Of course, when used correctly a wide angle can become a wonderful tool for really placing a portrait subject in a fascinating environment and giving a context to place. In some cases I’m not sure how important place is for a successful portrait. If place has little meaning to the photographer, or the subject, then why give it a thought?
But…when the place does have significance to the subject, placing the portrait subject within a larger context can give extra meaning to an otherwise bland shot. In the case of the photo below, I was taking a series of portraits of Emily, in her hometown, on the downtown Main street, and really wanted to capture, not only Emily, but also, give a sense of what it felt like to be on this street, at this specific moment in time. Hopefully with these objectives in mind, I was able to take a photograph that will resonate ten, or twenty years from now. -Micah.
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