Being Human / The Watchman

by Robert Santafede

"Watchman", a photograph by Robert Santafede

So.. I realized I hadn’t posted many pictures of people lately. I’ve been spending more time on taking architecture shots. And while I enjoy that, the unpredictable nature of us and our emotions have always been something amazing to photograph.

"Sisters", a black and white street photograph by Robert Santafede

"Father", a black and white portrait by Robert Santafede

"Dancing in Shadows", a black and white photograph by Robert Santafede

"Feather", black and white portrait by Robert Santafede

"Relay", black and white street photography by Robert Santafede

"Exhale", black and white street photography by Robert Santafede

"The Way Down" a black and white photograph by Robert Santafede

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52 Comments to “Being Human / The Watchman”

  1. I can’t decide which face I like the best…all so wonderful and hold a whole life of stories. Great capturing, indeed. πŸ™‚ Sam

  2. You really feel like you get to know them. Great job!

  3. Excellent post.
    I love the big tongue at the top.
    Gav.

  4. This is a nice series of portraits. Well done.

  5. Very good pictures Robert.

  6. Me gusta muchΓ­simo el blanco y negro que le has dado, la tercera me encanta, saludos

  7. Wonderful faces!! Music is so soothing!!!

  8. Great images. I like that you started with a gargoyle and the connection in the title (gargoyles watch over a building and ward off evil spirits?). Beautiful portraits too.

    • Thanks John! Indeed, that was the connection. Also watching people day in, day out living life, like what I was doing taking pictures. I was listening to the song at the time I was compiling the pictures to post and that title just sealed the deal. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

  9. Great portraits! I’m never brave enough to ‘do’ people and on the few occasions I’ve tried (sneakily with a long lens!) the images lack any emotion. Any tips?!

    • Thanks Noeline! Well, just keep in mind I’ve been pretty much scolded by some people for lopping off ears, hats, etc. πŸ™‚ I don’t really see the point, to be honest. We all have ears, and unless the hat was the reason for the photo – it’s not important enough to take away from the face.

      I also use a telephoto. I usually stand pretty far back and will usually be in the 250-300mm range. I really enjoy having the extra distance – most people feel threatened when they see someone they don’t know take their photos (very understandable). Unfortunately that telephoto is pretty heavy and hard to be sneaky with like you mentioned.

      Probably one of the more bigger things would be to try and stay at eye level with the person you’re photographing. It will really help bring intimacy to the photo. Another that I like to do is to have the DoF as shallow as possible, isolate the subject from the background as much as you can. Be aware of the time of day also. Earlier in the morning, people will have a more energetic attitude about them, which will be apparent in the photos – and the opposite is true towards the evening, if you’re looking for more relaxed/tired body language. Use the continuous shooting mode on your camera and don’t be afraid to hold it down.. I used an older Pentax to take all of the above pictures, and that damn thing is LOUD (but fast)! I was lucky enough that most locations were louder. πŸ˜‰

      If anyone ever asks you why you took their picture, etc. I show them the live view and ask them for their email address, and I will send them a finished version before I would upload it, unless they want me to delete it then and there (hasn’t happened yet). If you already have permission, then don’t take the picture when they’re posing. Talk for a little while, let them forget you’re a photographer. Let the picture form naturally, then take it. If that fails, pretend like you’re taking a picture of something behind them, then turn really quick. πŸ˜€

      Go black and white with your post processing. Nine times out of ten, it will simplify the scene and force the viewer to look at structure and emotion rather than be distracted by colors.

      Hope that helps, and if I think of some more I’ll let you know. I’ve always enjoyed photographing people, but I’m really new to it also. So if you have any tips or tricks, please let me know also! πŸ™‚

  10. Fantastic portraits, where did you take the pics?

    • Thanks Ed! These were taken from all over pretty much, all within the past two months. I spent a good day just going through all the people photos I had and began doing all the PP work.. Even found a folder that I swore I lost. Felt like Christmas when I found it! πŸ™‚

  11. Great shots, Robert! People’s faces are like stories sometimes. And I love the boy suspended in the air (last photo).

  12. I love them all but especially the second photograph; caught at just the perfect moment. Absolutely gorgeous photos Robert!

    • Thank you! That’s one of my favorite also, my other is the one right underneath it. I took that photo and wasn’t sure how it came out, but when I got home I was really pleased. Both of their positions and the looks on their face came out like I had hoped. Thank you for your comment. πŸ™‚

  13. excellent shots, all of them!

  14. these are truly great. now i want to go out and do this, too πŸ™‚

  15. Robert, you’ve outdone yourself!

  16. Superb shots, Robert! Really great.

  17. Beautiful song…
    Beautiful expresssions on their faces you captured…
    Beautiful shot of sculpture…
    as always fascinated me again…

    Thank you dear Robert, love, nia

  18. Beautiful dense monochromes with fabulous tonality……. and every single one of them with an emotional, spiritual and human story. Great stuff Robert.

  19. Abosolutely brilliant! You have a great eye. The gentleman wiping his mouth and the indian? lady in pic just below that really capture that, emotion, that “in the middle of something” look that’s quite hard to explain.. And the black and white just finishes it off perfectly.
    Reallly emotive photography Robert!

    Inspiring me to get some ppl shots! Havnt done that in a while!

    • Thanks, GreXon! I know that look that you’re talking about, I was really excited that I caught that. It’s one of those things that you can’t tell by looking on your viewfinder. Definitely go take some, I’d love to see them!

  20. Great portraits! Glad to have found your website. The nun is my favorite of these…but hard to choose, as everyone says.

  21. Wow, Robert – I love character studies. The sixth and seventh really draw me in.

  22. Oh these are really great!

  23. Hi Robert, thanks for all the suggestions to help me improve my portraits. I’m impressed these were done with a telephoto as somehow you have still managed to keep a sense of intimacy. Thinking about the time of day is an interesting one and something I hadn’t considered. Nor had I thought about continuous shooting so I’ll give that a shot – sorry πŸ™‚
    You’ve inspired me to be a little braver and if I ever get to the point where I can offer you any tips I most certainly will – just don’t hold your breath! Thanks once again for a really helpful reply.

  24. I can really feel the people in your photos! Excellent!

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