Portraits: Dan Steinberg

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Let’s face it, taking pictures of people is easy. Raise the camera to your eye (or hold your phone out in front of you) and press the shutter button. Couldn’t be simpler, right? I mean, after all, you look at the back of the camera and there’s your subject staring back at you. But, while the mechanics of portrait photography may seem simple on the surface, capturing the essence or character or even soul, if you like, of someone in a photograph is something else entirely. Great portraits are, in my opinion, all about subtlety and nuance. They are made when science and craft, and maybe even a little luck, collide to produce an image that goes beyond merely documenting that person’s time in front of your camera. We see them, not the characters they play or the masks they wear, but them, stripped, bare and honest. If you want to see some really great examples of what I mean, take a look through the portfolio of Dan Steinberg. I was introduced to Dan’s work just recently by Bill and have quickly become a fan; I mean come on, he shot The Dude. There’s some great color work in his portfolio, like the shot of Robin Williams above, but it’s his black & white work that really resonates with me. Andrew Gibson said something to me once about black & white that has stuck with me. He said that in black & white, there aren’t as many places to hide, compared to color. So, while the images may appear simpler from a process standpoint, it actually takes more craft and finesse to get a great black & white image.

 

Dan Steinberg - Jeff Bridges - Colin FarrellDan Steinberg - Andy SerkisDan Steinberg - Herbie HancockDan Steinberg - Davis Guggenheim Dan Steinberg - Ethan Hawke