Saturday, January 29, 2011

Capturing young lovers in Palma, Mallorca, ArtTraveler probes the boundaries of the long lens

My first creative love is photography.

I owe much to friend and veteran photojournalist Lance Woodruff, who continues his profession in Bangkok, a former Vietnam War veteran of the cadre of combat journalists.

While we attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota together in the early 60's, he taught me how to use the lens as a mirror of the soul and to compose, sense the shutter speed in your brain, that certain moment and click when you know in your heart of hearts you've got it, you have captured the instant as you saw it and it all came together.

In 1964, I bought a Leica M-2 and years later, a Nikon F-2, both steadfast companions to many photojournalists.

I worked as photojournalist and later reporter and editor for the St. Paul Dispatch & Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minnesota (now a once-a-day daily, St. Paul Pioneer Press), again in part, thanks to Lance helping me create an artist's eye.

Then, like Lance, I only shot black and white and managed my own darkroom.

Going into the darkroom was like scuba diving, you totally lost sense of time and in some cases, oxygen.

A couple years ago, I toured Palma, Mallorca.  There, sitting on a bench with my camera on my lap, the bridge type with super zoom lens, a high resolution Fuji digital, a computer that I usually set on auto....and across from me two young lovers.

As a photojournalist with my M-2, I never used a telephoto lens except the 90 mm for portraits.

I also owned a pathos and ethos that prodded me to get close to my subject.

And most of the time, I used a 35 mm lens, preset to about 15 feet, hung so it rested on my chest, and after awhile, I developed some excellent grab shooting techniques and results. And the M-2 was small and very quiet.

It was then I realized I was intuitively inspired by the spirit and style of Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died in 2004 (more to come on a great collection of these I saw in L.A.).

So, while in Palma I shot these two young lovers. I was sitting directly opposite them, perhaps 10 metres away.

I did not hide my focus nor did they disguise their affection.

All above images by Stefan van Drake.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

See also ArtTraveler videos on YouTube; please also take a look at the photo gallery illustrating day 18 of Rob and Joost's great adventure, the Via de la Plata pilgramage (walking) from Seville to Santiago de Compostela.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM).

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