#ModesofFlight #PortraitPhotography | Introduction

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Carioca Girl

This is my quirky intro to a new unlimited blog series on portrait photography. Every now and then, I’ll share my thoughts on this genre, reveal some tricks of the trade, answer some questions and even learn some things that I didn’t know before. Hopefully, I’ll inspire others who love portraiture beyond the selfie.

Although I had been doing both illustration and photography since various stages of my childhood and adolescence, I entered the professional art world mainly as an illustrator. My professional photography career didn’t start until much later.

My wife has told others that my getting back into photography many years ago, especially street photography and portraiture, socially “brought me out of my shell.” Yes, I’ll explain . . .

It’s common for most of us to throw certain words around too freely without a satisfactory understanding on their definitions. Antisocial and introverted are two such words that various others have used to describe me. Which is quite interesting because I’m quite sure that an antisocial personality cannot also be an introvert, and vice-versa. It is because of this fairly frequent labeling why I have actually spent years studying and re-studying the differences.

In psychology, antisocial personalities and introverts are far more complex than their most simplified, laymen descriptions. It’s my understanding that the most accurate difference between the two personalities in laymen’s terms, however, are that antisocial personalities harbor unreasonable and unprovoked absolute hatred for others or a profound lack of care for others wellbeing. Introverts, on the other hand, possess and unreasonable fear of others draining them of their personal sense of security and strength.

I’ve never been a hate monger, and at times have allowed myself to become too concerned with others wellbeing. That takes the antisocial factor right out of the picture.

Although I don’t like crowds, I haven’t had much of a fear of any singular person or group of people since early childhood and have often sought out groups to either study people from a distance or interact with them. I’m somewhat one of those annoying freaks who want to see the whole wide world become loving, happy and sharing together. Actually, I learned the hard way early in life that my boldness and sense of gaining strength from engaging others had to be reined in through religion, martial arts training and reading psychology and sociology. I can remember my mother repeatedly telling me when I was a kid, “Son, in this world, if you keep trying too hard to be liked you’ll see that people will get tired of you.” So, I’m not introverted either.

Part naturally, and partly because of many personal experiences — very good ones and very bad ones, I happen to be another misunderstood animal known as a loner.

Like the antisocial personality I do not embarrass easily. I will proudly take on responsibilities and practices that are regarded by most others as unpopular but are neither criminal nor clearly offensive in any way. Like singing in public even though I’m not a recognized professional singer or willing to be a police officer arresting someone for committing a misdemeanor in order to ensure social order. I’m also not easily bullied or peer pressured, and I require restraint when it comes to opposing real predatory and menacing personalities who enjoy hurting others in any way.

Like the true introvert, I have definitely always been energized by solitary and creative pursuits. Hey, if you didn’t already know it, I’m a visual artist. I’m also highly selective as to who I allow to get close to me.

So, there it is. I’m a loner. I enjoy others but I don’t have to have a lot of friends, be adored, be the center of attention or the life of the party to feel a sense of security or importance. I function extremely well on my own. In being a loner, I am a quiet, reserved individual who is constantly scrutinizing and filtering every aspect of the social universe.

It’s because I refrain from engaging in small talk and gossip, and it’s likely very obvious that my BS-detector is frequently going off, why I get labeled as antisocial or introverted by those who want me to behave as they do.

All of this is what my wife means when she tells people that photography has “brought me out of my shell.” Photography, especially the genres of street photography and portraiture, is a discipline in which she sees me interact with people much more than usual.

Speaking of interaction and portraiture, if you’re interested in having me photograph you, don’t be antisocial and curtail your introversion. Contact me, and let’s see if we can get creative together.

This introductory post will be used as a links page to all subsequent related entries:

  • Introduction (you’re already there)
  • Part 1 The Bertotti Family

17 thoughts on “#ModesofFlight #PortraitPhotography | Introduction

    • Paula, I’m not surprised that you understand where I’m coming from. It’s a wonderful feeling. That feeling of being most yourself. That feeling of being emotionally, intellectually and socially strong and free whereas other times you might feel a little smothered or austracized.

      And yes, I thought that I’d take that risk. Many will prod you to take one, and then pounce upon you when you do. They’ll gladly chastise you for taking too big a risk, and this is a pretty big one for me. I’m revealing aspects of my personality that I know many in this world are too quick to condemn.

      Thank you so much, Paula.

  1. Allan, A very frank and honest post. Thank you. I agree with Paula, photography, for me, is the place where I am completely immersed — at the end of a day of shooting, I am fulfilled and exhausted. It’s great that you feel it has brought you out of your shell. I feel it doing both– brings me out with people, but also allows me to hide. Your portrait here is vibrant and beautifully composed.

    • The surprise to me is that until my wife started saying this, I never saw myself as being withdrawn in her eyes at all. This is because while I had come to expect such a perception of me from others, no one knows me better that her. I thought she saw me differently; as just highly independent-minded.

      Finding out her view is a fascinating revelation of at least her, and possibly other’s, perception of me. In knowing who she is, and what she means to my life — above all others, I can only conclude that she is right.

  2. I think photographing people and maybe particularly people on the street brings all of us out of our shelves. It’s simply not possible to hide when you encounter strangers in one way or another. Good post, Allan.

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