jane the mysterious dame…

street portraits, or “mugs” as i like to call them, are kind of my new thing . steve mccurry told me to work on them and i’d be stupid not to listen to the man himself. so my new undertaking isn’t shooting events and scenes so much as capturing the people that define and reside in said scenarios. in previous posts, i’ve talked about the process of approaching strangers and bullshitting with them long enough for them to be comfortable with me taking their portrait. it’s a challenge. but it’s part of the fun and excitement. i meet a LOT of interesting people, too.

but it’s not always difficult to get someone to surrender their likeness to the lens.

i was making my way to the subway to catch a train at grand central. walking on 28th between 3rd and lex, i noticed this woman standing just so in a doorway smoking a cigarette. we made eye contact. i kept walking. the light was good. the subject was alluring. the background was intriguing enough (i’m always on the lookout for these things). i made it about 10 feet past her when an invisible hand spun me on the spot and prodded me back towards her. she was still standing there, penetrating me with her eyes like she already knew exactly what i wanted from her.

it was as simple as asking “can i take your picture?”

“of course you can take my picture, dahling” (with a delicious british accent)


jane was a lot of things in the 20 seconds i stood there with her. poised. nubile. familiar. but most of all, present. she was so there in that moment. i don’t know if that makes any sense but her piercing gaze and subtle urbane smile made me feel like i knew nothing about anything. it felt like she was peering straight through my existence.

i thanked her for her time and apologized for not having any cards on my person. “not to worry, dahling. not to worry at all.” i walked away and that was it. i made my train by seconds.

overall, this portrait fulfills most of my requirements for a successful shot. it has a kind of mysterious feel to it. i also think the colors are real puuuuurdy.

Picture 17

here’s a diagram of what went down:

Picture 21

Picture 23


~ by jacobbmurphy on November 13, 2009.

One Response to “jane the mysterious dame…”

  1. jake, this portrait is awesome, i feel like that woman knows everything there is to know but could never learn in school

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