50 Faces: Alexis Lemus

I want to note that the photos in this 50 face project will not all follow the same format, I am not limiting myself to simple professional portraits, conceptual portraits, or any specific category of portraiture. They may all be different depending on time restrictions, location, the model, etc. The photo of Brys was taken quickly and meant to be a simple portrait. These images were taken over more time and some were a bit conceptual in that they used the environment and the harsh light of midday sun in a very purposeful way.

I should also note since these photos are of my boyfriend and he's easy to bug to model likely will not be the only photos I take of him for this project.

While hiking in Blue Hills this past Saturday (6/18) my boyfriend, Alexis Lemus, was kind enough to model for me and allow me to work on a few ideas I'd been wanting to try. Once Behr had finished swimming in the pond and we began our hike, I started looking for interesting areas to use as our location for photos. At first the paths were well traveled and any spot we might like would be often interrupted. After walking a bit further we found some odd rocks that had a dip in them you could imagine sitting it. I worked with alexis and this rock for some more simple portraits.



If you took a photography class you were probably told midday sun it terrible lighting for shooting  especially for portraits. If you never took a class you might also have noticed when you take selfies on your phone that there is really harsh lighting on your face, lots of deep shadows, and funny shapes. In class you would have also been taught that if you had to shoot in midday sun you should look for shade or use diffusors to avoid such harsh lighting. All of this is very true but I love playing with harsh light and the strong contrast and highlights you can get from midday sun. While doing so I do my best to make sure that light doesn't touch my models face and adds to the photo instead of working against me. It is still not ideal lighting but you can get some really interesting highlights and shapes you just have to be careful it isn't distracting from your concept.

After I used the odd shape of the rock Alexis climbed on top of them just for fun but when he was up there I notice the light raked across his abdomen and worked to keep that light off his face while I shoot some more.


This is an example of where the location and lighting just didn't work out as well in camera as it looked in concept. We kept walking for a bit after the first photos and I saw this broken tree with lots of branches coming out of it. I began to imagine how I might use the lines of the tree and Alexis's body to make an interesting composition. I worked to have his body create a continuous line in a bit of an odd shape while still looking natural. While I took this shot I thought it would be the most interesting one conceptually and to edit. However, once I began to edit I realized the lighting here had been less than ideal, it didn't do anything for him, or set the tone of the image. I may try to continue editing this image but I believe the concept ended up being more interesting than the final image.


I have to say this is my favorite image! It also was a struggle to edit, I think I am happy with this edit but I may play some more and I may post another post with all my attempts. I also saw this as a huge opportunity to work on my black and white photos as I've mentioned before I am particularly picky about black and white and you won't often find it in my work.

For this image we found another fallen tree with branches in odd shapes. I asked Alexis to get into a bit of an uncomfortable position to make interesting shapes between his body and the fallen branches. I loved the angles of the tree and his body made as well as the shapes of leaves on his chest and abdomen the harsh lighting made. The bright midday sun light his body through the trees but also the background where it filtered through the trees. This created a strong push and pull between background and foreground which I wasn't looking for in this particular image. I worked hard to keep the tones of grey I loved in the foreground but flatten the background so it was less distracting. How successful you think I was probably varies based on the styles you like but I do love this image.


And lastly I found more fallen branches and tried a few simpler shots but we were short on time and starting to find ticks on us so here's just one quick shot!

Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming

6/18: Blue Hills

I must apologize again for the lack of posts but as I said before I am moving at the end of this month so it's been a bit of a whirlwind! From this trip I will have two blog posts for you, this post is the fun hiking photos while the other is some planned shots for my 50 faces project & working to take photos in black and white as I've mentioned in previous posts.

Behr and Alexis were reunited for the weekend, after 2 weeks apart (since we are in between places Behr isn't with us for the month we only see him on some weekends), which made Behr was a very happy puppy! Saturday Alexis, Behr, and I set out for Blue Hills in Milton to let Behr get wet in the water and do a bit of hiking. First we had to drive around to find some available parking and we got lucky and found a spot near Houghton Pond. We set off first towards the pond to let Behr do a little swimming.

Behr likes to swim for the most part but prefers when he can touch the ground, when he can't touch the ground he looks like he's struggling a bit, and one he is back on ground he seems to frustratingly gurgle up water he got in his mouth, and he is quick to shake himself dry throwing water on the rest of us.

Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming

Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming
Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming
Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming

That last photo is so dramatic and the others so silly I might just have to print all three as a series for a wall in our new home!

Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming
Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming
Behr the dog shaking out water at Blue Hills while swimming

Behr the dog in the water with Alexis at Blue Hills

Once Behr seemed sick of the water and even Alexis couldn't coax him back in we set off for the woods and did a leisurely loop with lots of stops to take photos with Alexis modeling for me... coming in the next blog post.

Tree roots with vines growing around them on a hiking trail

Vines growing around a tree
Ferns growing out of a fallen tree