Lack of participation!
Lovely image as usual! I can certainly see Monti's influence in your work and of course, your own interpretative style in the image you have posted.
It is said that people who live in glass houses should not cast stones so I must admit that I am partially responsible for the lack of participation or interest in this forum and particularity in this section- portraiture! I was supposed to be one of the major moderators and "movers" here but a number of issues such as my health, business status and a number of happenings on this forum, have contributed to my lack of activity and participation here. I suppose the departure of Bobby certainly put a dent in things. I am sure Bobby had his reasons for leaving but his absence did take its toll on the activities around here. It is true that Bobby could be rather opinionated about certain topics but that, at least, created some contribution of various and different opinions and ideas.
Despite a winter of illness and medical issues, I have maintained my business which includes a redesign and rebuilding of my studio facilities. This has taken up most of my time and I hope to get back into to the swing of things soon. I must admit that I have been a bit discouraged about the status of good professional fine portraiture on the current scene, There are so many young and talented and imaginative photographers out there, however, they have no basis in the underlying principles of lighting, composition and image management such as lighting and final presentation of their work- so much of it is sloppy! I am not one of those "old school' guys who insist on strict adherence to the "rules" but understand the basics is still essential to good creative work and the basis are so lacking in today's imagery! Some of the negative responses to any kind of classical work that is posted on various forums is indeed discouraging to me and I have therefore remained reluctant to participate in any online activities and just mind my own business, service my existing clients and finish my career with peace, quiet, and dignity rather than unnecessary tumult and aggravation. I do, however, miss teaching! It's not a matter of ego, it's just that I like the notion of passing on what I have learned form my teachers- great guys like Monte, Joe Zeltsman and many others who took the time and expended their energy to help me and many other photographers develop their styles and techniques. It's a shame that all that knowledge, experience and encouragement is oftentimes written off as "old school" and is left to die along with it practitioners.
So..a few weeks ago, an old friend of mine talked me into doing a 3-hour lecture gig and the local camera club! I was gonna make some excuse and forget about it but he is an old buddy and is a good salesmen- so I relented. I took an old slide presentation out of the mothballs and brought along a simple one light plus reflector system and did a short demonstration. I was pleasantly surprised at the good reception I garnered- it was good fun and a bit encouraging.
Meanwhile- back at the studio, I am finding that swinging a hammer and doing a bit of interior construction and organizing has proven to be uplifting and physically rehabilitating. Last December, I could hardly lift my power tools and now I am taking down walls, framing out areas and lifting heavy gear into place! At 72 year old, I am back doing a bit of weigh training again and going back to the Judo club and the gym. I still shoot the odd wedding along with a couple of young assistants- the money is still good!
So..well- I hope to become more active on this forum again. I will try to enlist a few new members and post a few instructional articles for the new guys and gals. I am in the midst of cleaning up the mess that the construction has left behind and I am preparing the camera room to be operational again. Luckily, I have saved (hoarded) enough old gear and hardware to get things going without too many more purchases. My lovely wife has decided to take over the office again and is glad that I have taken all the gear out of the rest of the house- one could be killed by an avalanche when opening a closet! I just sold one of my last color enlargers to a photographer who wants to continue shooting film- 2 more to go! I don't miss working in the color lab with all those caustic chemicals.
Portraiture is still my first love but the bulk of my incoming and profitable assignments have been in the commercial, food and product areas.
Sorry for the long status report but I thought it would be a good idea to bring y'all up to date and mention why I have not been around as much as I should have been. I kind of miss some of my old friends from the "Camel" but that place is too "toxic" for me! My first assistant and partner in the wedding department of my business still posts there occasionally and assures me that there are few articles of any important interest going on there- times change!
As an aside, I have been following the "election" goings on in my old country- WHAT A MESS! Yet another good reason for me to turn off my TV and get on my computer again. Excuse my morbid sense of humor but perhaps we can all get together and make this FORUM- GREAT AGAIN? Just to give y'all some idea of my age- a good friend of mine graduated one year behind Bernie Sander at a Brooklyn N.Y. high school. I was hoping that Bernie would become president- too bad!