I’ve been working with the University of Maryland Performing Arts Center this season on several different projects that are totally right up my alley. I’ve been documenting the many different performance groups from vocal choirs to dance and have been loving every second of it. Recently they asked me to set up a studio to do some portraits for their upcoming campaign using teachers, patrons and students of the performing arts center. Now, portraits is not my forte, but I took the challenge to do so given my love of the arts and love of the people I’ve met so far at UMD.
I called up my friend Maili, who is a fellow photographer working out of the Baltimore area. She and I came up with a game plan, packed up our gear and went to UMD for the first of three portrait sessions. We thought that it would be a simple, “Hi, how are you doing…sit here and turn your shoulders this direction, yadda, yadda, yadda” kind of session, but boy were we wrong!
Our first subject walked into the room and immediately grabbed our attention. He was funny, good looking, artistic and full of information. We knew that this was not going to be a boring subject, and Maili quickly turned on her charm and began talking to him about everything under the sun as he stood on the seamless background. I snapped away as she asked him more and more questions about what he did at UMD, as an artist and so on. The conversation even made it way to toilets…yes, toilets.
After he warmed us up with his personality and I got some great candid moments through my lens, we were ready for our next subjects to come. About 9 more came to be photographed that day and each time someone new walked into the door, we were showered with a new, vibrant personality. I wish I could have spent a few hours with each of them, they each had such cool stories to tell, and not one was shy in front of the camera.
Every time I walk into the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, I transform a bit, being surrounded by all of these talented and inspiring individuals makes me want to create more, makes me want to continue the work that I am doing and reminds me that life and work is fun.
I need to hang out with artists more often.