I have been a follower of a photographer called Danny Santos II for a few years now. I feel a specific series of work by him relates to what I will be doing. Danny Santos is a weekend photograph in which he photographs strangers in Singapore. He goes up to many strangers that he finds intriguing, beautiful and unique and asks their permission to photograph them.
Here is some of his work from his series called ‘Portraits of Strangers’. In which I will give my opinion on some of his photographs that I personally found intriguing.
Danny Santos – “I saw her sitting on the stairs outside of a mall, talking with her friend. It seemed like a lively discussion. She was the first girl I’ve approached for this project. When I asked “Is it ok if I take your picture?” she comfortably said “Sure.” I was pleasantly surprised, but was still very nervous. As I took this photograph, I was actually struggling.. thinking: “Steadyyy… man, I hope she doesn’t notice my camera shaking.”
I like that Danny, whilst taking this photograph felt exactly the same as I am going to feel. It makes me a little more confident to know that some people are likely to say yes once they know the reason why you want to photograph them.
I find this image stunning due to the use of narrow depth of field. It seems to have softened the image and has given the image a darker feel. The amount of detail shown throughout her eyes is hypnotising. I feel eyes are the gateway to a person soul and allows you to see a glimpse of what that person has been through in the past.
Danny Santos – “She was walking with her boyfriend. When I approached them, they seemed startled, but as I explained what I was trying to do, they said ‘yes’. But I could still feel them being unsure about the whole thing. Looking at this portrait, I’m reminded of the quote: “A girl without freckles is like a night without stars.”
I like the fact that he captures things that the person or even other people would think of as ‘imperfections’, such as freckles. However these are the things that make these people unique and beautiful, and I see this all throughout Danny’s work. Once again I feel this relates to my own project in which we would judge these people by the way they look.
Danny Santos – “It was one of those days where I was walking around for about 3 hours and couldn’t find a good face to photograph. It was starting to get frustrating. The sun had already gone, and I couldn’t accept that I don’t have even a single good shot for the day… so I decided to hang around ION Orchard just for a little while longer. And then I saw her just standing on the sidewalk, looking up at the big screen beside the mall. She seemed to be waiting for someone. She stood out primarily because she was so tall… when I took a closer look, I knew I had to take her picture. When I approached and asked “Is it ok if I take you picture?” she seemed startled just a little bit, but was very gracious and said “Ok.”
His clever use of depth of field makes her stand out from the haze of light making for an interesting backdrop. Her eyes are eye blue making the image have a sense of coldness, and due to her skin being pale white I feel it shows a form of grace and beauty. The slight yellow light coming from the right, gives a sense of warmth which contrasts well the the icy feeling throughout the photograph.
In conclusion, whilst looking at his work you can see there is no person that is the same, everyone person has individuality. Whether this is due to shape, colour or even the variety of make-up and style, his intention is not to make these people beautiful as they are already beautiful. I feel his aim is to capture the essence of that person, because using Paul Caponigro’s quote ‘It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are’
When I go to photograph my strangers I am going to keep Danny Santos’ work in my mind. As I feel it will help me as he has been through what I am about to undergo.
Danny Santos II Website – http://www.dannyst.com/
Danny Santos II Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/dannyst.photography?ref=ts&fref=ts
Danny Santos II Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/dannysantos/