In Jerusalem my challenge was to get permission to photograph the regulars at the Western Wall. Not an easy task for a man with a camera who could pass for just a tourist.
This is what I did. I started talking to a person likely to help, in this case an Israeli woman who was a visitor like me. I asked her to introduce me to an Israeli soldier, who introduced us to a religious Israeli soldier (photo below), who introduced me to the two Orthodox Jewish boys (photo above). It took a little bit of effort, but in the end I bridged the natural distance that exists between a guy with a camera and an orthodox jew in Jerusalem.
After that, taking the photos was the easy part, although it offered its own challenges. I am not a big fan of using a flash in documentary photography. It adds something unnatural, something artificial and can be a real turn-off, especially if done badly as often is the case.
However, when doing a series of portraits in bright sun, especially with a blue sky, a flash is often helpful. I under-expose the photo by a full stop, then I over-expose the flash by two-thirds or a full stop, thus creating far more contrast to help bring out the faces.
The individual portraits are often attractive and the series is tied together by using the same technique.
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