Notable Neighbors 2008

I was delighted to be asked once again this year to do the principal photography for Smiley Pete Publishing’s Notable Neighbors series, which runs concurrently in the Chevy Chaser and the Southsider monthlies.

The assignment was expected to be challenging — and it was. It was also a great exercise in the things that I love: photography, socializing, problem-solving, and creative thinking, plus a healthy dose of good fortune.

Along the way, I became mildly obsessed with the venerable art of photographic portraiture and took some time at the library perusing some of the masters.

During the project, I felt grateful to get to apply lighting lessons that I learned from National Georgraphic veteran shooter Karen Kasmauski at the Maine Media Workshops last summer, as well as some of the tough love that came to me from Jonathan Newton of the Washington Post at Mountain Workshop 2007).

During the shooting (over the course of a week and a half) I was struck by a few things:

  1. That there are some remarkable people living in Lexington.
  2. That I’ve learned a great deal since shooting last year’s portraits.
  3. That I know little of the craft that defines exceptional portrait photography.

The third insight is one of those that is both enlivening and discouraging. Ultimately, though, it’s a good thing: to see distant horizons in a discipline under which you would like to improve.

I’m reminded, then, of a lecture I heard from a legendary photographer (though I now forget who) saying: “Every assignment I go on, I just wait to see what I’ll screw up that I’ve never screwed up before… and will probably never screw up again after that!

So the final published results — in their online form — are here and here. But I also set up a Flickr set with all the final shots and some alternates, if you’re curious or would like to comment on any of the pix.

clipped from
September 02, 2008
2008 Chevy Chaser Notable Neighbors
Chuck Beal.
photo by: Mick Jeffries.
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