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Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 02:18 AM EST
Capturing Cultural Portraits
 
The images in this album reflect some of the various portrait images I have taken over the past 2+ years when touring Asia. Asia offers so much variety of cultures and is a great place to improve your skills on photographing people. Several of the images below offer different methods I used to get the subject in an effective way and are available here in conjunction with my article on Capturing Cultural Portraits. Take a read and scan throught these and would love to hear your comments on how effective you feel these images are.
 
 
The Monks of Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sun Dec 25, '11 09:44PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:01AM
Views 193 / Comments 0
 
 
China Bum
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Mon Dec 19, '11 02:37PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:01AM
Views 162 / Comments 0
Nothing better in the world than a bunch of fun-loving kids.   As Flores, Indonesia is not a tourist destination, these kids have had very little time with outsiders which allowed them to be so honestly open and fun.   I had a wonderful time "playing" with them and sharing my photography.  I even had the older girl hold and shoot the camera, with my assistance of course.   Getting kids involved drops all curtains and makes taking wonderful images so much easier!
 
 
The Kids of Flores, Indonesia
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Apr 26, '11 01:53PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:04AM
Views 145 / Comments 0
One of the more famous tribes of Papua New Guinea are the Huli "Wigmen" near the village of Tari.  We visited the "Wig University" where men grew their wigs for attending ceremonies.   We sat with the two "professors" of the university for quite awhile and learned much about their practices.  Showing interest (which I truly was) was beneficial for getting them to open up and enjoy being together.  We ended up having some fun and as the guys in back were smiling, the man in front was trying to hold a very serious pose.   This was taken just before he cracked a huge smile.
 
 
The Wigmen of Tari, PNG
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Aug 14, '12 01:22PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:09AM
Views 173 / Comments 0
One of the most important aspects of portrait photography are the eyes and always making sure they are the focal point.    Eyes tell a story as if not correctly focused here, the image would be in the wastebin.   This was a young boy in northern Thailand who was aware of my taking the picture, but as I was at a distance, his pose was more relaxed.
 
 
Thai Child
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Wed Feb 21, '07 07:23PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:08AM
Views 128 / Comments 0
Keywords Thailand, Portrait
We had made a stop to shoot some wonderful rice terrances in Flores Island, Indonesia when off to the left of me was this lady filtering through the freshly picked rice on a tarp.   I took a look at her and smiled and she just started laughing.  This was one of those times where I did nothing ahead of time to prime the scene other than a hopefully provide a simple smile.   She had on some rice paste to protect her from the sun and perhaps, maybe, she felt funny with this on her face in front of me and my camera.
 
 
The Rice Queen
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Wed Apr 27, '11 04:53PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:08AM
Views 130 / Comments 0
I had seen this young girl in Yangon, Myanmar as I was visiting a temple.   As with most women or girls from Myanmar, they grind up roots from a tree and apply to their faces as both makeup and protection from the sun.  She was sitting on the floor of the temple and away from the light, so it was hard for me to get down at her level to shoot her face without a lot of back-lighting.   I choose instead to move around her and determined to shoot from above.   Once I found the spot, I said a quick Hello and she looked up and I shot the image.  Timing is another essential part for shooting people and anticipating their moves.  I only had a second or two to take this.
 
 
Yangon Girl
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Thu Dec 22, '11 06:00PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:09AM
Views 226 / Comments 0
One of my favorite places to shoot on trips are the markets.   They offer soooo much variety and wonderful opportunities and when approached well, can allow for some wonderful photography.  I always try to take a positive state of mind when walking through the markets and consistently smile and say Hi in the local language.   A little abuse of my language skills, like saying Nee How in Chinese, sometimes is advantageous as I get some good reactions.   I noticed this lady roasting chestnuts and was trying to communicate with her with what I learned on the trip...it was a failure for my ability to communicate, but the end result was this hardy laugh and smile.   So...self abuse sometimes works!
 
 
Roasting Chestnuts in Songpan, China
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sun Oct 16, '11 10:28PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:07AM
Views 179 / Comments 0
I spent 2 days at the Mt Hagen Sing Sing in PNG and had the chance to photography many tribes.   I spent more of my time with the tribe from Pimaga and really liked their people as they were honestly open and friendly.   I took time to admire their weapons (they were worth the admiration btw as they were well crafted) and got to know this tribe.  It really allowed me to feel more comfortable in their presence and they also were seemingly more comfortable with me around.  I wanted to get some candid shots too and had to be patient to stand by their sides and wait for a turn here or there.  The Chief of the tribe rewarded me with this turn of his head.
 
 
The Chief
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Aug 11, '12 02:13PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:07AM
Views 158 / Comments 0
As many women do in Myanmar, this vendor was sitting back in her tent smoking away on a cigar.   I was walking by and noticed her wares on a table and took interest in where she was sitting as the lighting was excellent.  No knowing at all to any reaction she would have as she looked a little intimidating, I politely raised my camera and asked if she would mind if I take her picture.   She accepted and actually enhanced her "portrait" by posing with her cigar.   I did end up buying a wooden camera from her.
 
 
Vendor in Myanmar
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Dec 24, '11 01:43PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:06AM
Views 172 / Comments 0
Having a telephoto lens also can provide some good results for portraits.   I noticed several women working the rice fields and stopped to shot them.  They were quite far off and I could not get near them due to the bank in the road and the rice fields.  I stopped and just shot a few wider images as they started taking note of me.   As they started standing and smiling my way, I switched cameras to my 100-400mm and starting getting up close to a few of them.   As it was so distant, the realization of a zoom lens is not fully understood and people tend to relax much more as she did.   I thought this young lady had a radiant smile and was lucky to get her looking my way.
 
 
Working the Fields in Myanmar
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Dec 24, '11 04:08PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:06AM
Views 181 / Comments 0
I spent a good 15-20 minutes at a Buddhist nunnery in Mandalay and was able to watch them as they prepared for school.   Although they were receptive and allowed us to see their place, they were quite shy and reserved.   Although there were opportunities for some subdued photographs, I eventually asked them if they would like a print of themselves as I had my Selphy printer along.   They posed and I gave them the print (on the lap of the nun on the right).   It as a different story after that and their smiles opened up as well as their guard falling off.   There are many times giving something in return is not too much to ask and reaps wonderful rewards.
 
 
The Nuns of Mandalay, Myanmar
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Dec 27, '11 08:51PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:05AM
Views 195 / Comments 0
One of the most difficult areas I went to was a group of Long-Neck people residing in northern Thailand.  What made this difficult was that there is the impression that many of these people are "paid" to stay in the village and practice their unique customs just for tourists.   I did not realize this too much until later, but there was a certain melancholy in the area and a simple smile did not always work.   As I observed more, I felt the best thing to do was try to capture the mood as best possible.   So, in the case of this young lady, I tried not to get her to smile or pose.   As with all portraits, the eyes tell the story and hopefully I was able to catch a little of that melancholy in her face.   She was a beautiful young lady and very reserved.
 
 
Young Long-Necked Girl
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Wed Feb 14, '07 02:18PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:05AM
Views 132 / Comments 0
Sometimes being in the right place at the right time works.  I as getting very tired as we were at the Floating Market in Bangkok for a long time and it was HOT.   I sat for a few moments to rest and after I got up, I walked by this young lady who was also resting at a table.  I turned to her and simply smiled and asked if she would mind me taking a picture.   After a pleasant nod, I snapped a landscape and portrait photo and thanked her.   It took all of a matter of 10-15 seconds actually, but hopefully my sincere request allowed her to provide me with this absolutely wonderful smile.  This has always been one of my favorites with the lines of the hat, her smile and the those charming eyes.
 
 
Floating Market Vendor, Bangkok
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Mon Jun 13, '11 12:12AM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:04AM
Views 190 / Comments 0
Markets are wonderful.  Humanity sometimes at its best for observation and seeing life unfold.   I sat in the center of a market in the Sa Pa region of northern Vietnam and watched the unlimited variety of people mulling around.   After finding some key areas and noting the patrionage, I took my 100-400mm lens and sat patiently to find a great opportunity.  Patience was rewarded with this lady from the Flower Hmong tribe as she was casually looking over her shoulder with the great light.
 
 
Flower Hmong Woman, Sa Pa region, Vietnam
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Dec 25, '10 04:18PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:03AM
Views 104 / Comments 0
We arrived late to a market in a town on Flores Island, Indonesia and people were closing down.   I was disappointed, so I sat and watched as things were being packed up.   I turned on noticed these two as it was apparent they were tired and had a long day.   I did not want them to know that I was shooting, so I kept a relatively good distance and snapped a couple of shots.   Again patience and observation were rewarded with a unique opportunity and hopefully a good shot.
 
 
Day's End Grooming, Flores Island, Indonesia
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sun Apr 24, '11 09:59PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:03AM
Views 105 / Comments 0
 
 
The Fury of Flores
Richard Schoettger
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Apr 26, '11 01:44PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:02AM
Views 123 / Comments 0
I was walking in at a town's market near Yangoon which as absolutely packed. It was shoulder to shoulder, slow and really hard to navigate. I had my camera in my hand (dangerously so as I somehow always do) and I was enamored with this young lady. I had to quickly shoot her actually without looking through the eyepiece and got lucky. It was crooked and I had to crop, but I caught her at a good time looking back at me.
 
 
A Face in the Crowd
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Dec 23, '11 02:37PM
Posted Thu Oct 04, '12 08:10AM
Views 168 / Comments 0
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