Steven: Focus

Steven. Faces of the Festival 2017. Photo by Joseph Boldt

When I photograph I think of nothing else. I’m just focused on that. There’s nothing else in my mind—no sick family members, business, getting plumbing repaired in the studio. I love an assignment. It’s like a challenge and a mission. What do you need to capture? What’s important? I always think about the narrative. What are the elements to tell the story? These kinds of photos are really hard because it’s just them, it’s just how they stand and how they look and what they’re wearing, and that’s really challenging. We do lots of photos where we build photos, where we light it depending on what’s important and those are easier in a way because you have a goal in mind and you compose it and light it for that goal. But when you’re doing a portrait, it’s sort of like improvisational jazz. You get somebody and something and you have to riff of off their riff. In some ways, the metaphor is they’re existence is some kind of musical instrument and they’re playing some tune and you have to play a tune with them.

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