Dogwood 52: Assignment #10 "Environmental Portrait"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] Environmental: Show a subject in their natural habitat. Their place of work or hobby is a great start. Tell their story with the environment

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.


This is more accurately faceless environmental portrait but it perfectly summarizes two roles in their element. A coach and gymnasts watching routines. The gymnasts observing and asking questions while the coach intakes and answers questions. This place is considered my second home so it's hard to go unnoticed while taking pictures. I wanted to make sure the bright colors transferred to convey the upbeat atmosphere and cheerfulness of the subjects. 


A day-old baby being cared for in the maternity ward. 20mm MFT at f.17 ISO 320. The runner up shot of my climbing partner.  I feel the newborn photo is more fitting for the assignment though.


I had grand plans but in interest of time during the holidays I didn't really get to any of them. That said, I love environmental portraiture and think that done well it takes lifeless headshots and turns them into images with real, powerful stories. Portraiture without the environmental context just seems like it's not saying anything so far as I'm concerned.
In this case, I played with it a little bit. This square window reminded me of a hanging portrait on a wall, and so I waited for someone to take position within it and took a shot.


So the photo, I really wanted to take for this was at the Station North Tool Library, of this guy sitting on a stump with soundproof earmuffs and an apron on, carving a wooden spoon out of a block of wood clamped to the stump. I was too shy to ask and didn't bring my camera, but it was the perfect shot. Instead, I have a photo of my dad from our recent trip to Arizona/Nevada/California playing wildlife photographer. He got some cool shots of jack rabbits and normal rabbits.


Here's my natural environment. It's been weird acclimating to Japanese society. It was really nice to find a comfortable place not too far away. Note the double layer of material here.


An Ava Dog, in her natural environment, wagging her tail and eating.