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How I Shot My Favourite Photograph of 2022
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I capture thousands of images each year and if just ONE of them can be special —an image that stands head and shoulders above the thousands that flood in month after month—that would make the entire year worth it.
In 2022, I was able to capture one of those images, and I’d like to share it with you.
The Technical Details
The Schoolgirl was captured at a welfare school in southern Chennai. This image was shot with my Leica M11 and the Summilux 35mm F1.4 FLE II lens where the shutter speed was set to 1/125, aperture at 5.6, and ISO at 400.
It was a bright afternoon with the sun coming from the right side of this image so I had my Godox AD200Pro with the round dome head firing at full power from the left to “overpower” the sun and become the key light. This helped to round out the subject, bring some contrast to the face, and really separate our subject from the backdrop.
I often talk about photography in service of others and this image was the result of that philosophy. I had been tipped off to this school near our residence in Chennai where the concept of class pictures was foreign to these kids. I wanted to make it a priority during my trip to stop by and give them a photography experience to remember.
We built our set right on their playground (if you could call it that) and started capturing these beautiful portraits one after the next. Some kids needed more direction than others but I didn’t want to be too prescriptive because that wasn’t the priority. It was about sharing my photography in a meaningful way and making them feel like the most important person in that moment.
Toward the end of our session, I had this young girl leap in and just take this pose on her own. And let me tell you, her presence just shot through my soul. I knew that this image was going to be special.
So, we wrap our shoot, exchange details with the staff, and part ways. I get back to our residence and start sifting through the images and this one, shit… it just demanded my attention. It was in that moment I had known that I had captured my most important photograph of 2022. Even with three months left in the year!
What makes this image special to me is how it seems to bring so many small details together in an effortless way. You have this make-shift playground riddled with bricks and glass, a school bench and table that hoists our subject above it all, this intense look that hits you, and so much more. I just love this image so much.
I don’t want to get into a routine of dissecting my images in a philosophical way, at least not in this format. And to be honest, I’d much rather hear what you think. What do you see in this image? What stands out to you? How does it make you feel? Feel free to leave a comment to this post and let me know.
At some point, I’ll find a way to properly close out these emails but until then, thanks pal! I’m really excited to grow this community and your support goes a long way in making this thing a meaningful part of what I do.
See ya next time.