Neal Schlosburg | Artist | Portrait Photographer

The Genesis

Michael Austin Stevens

Mr. Stevens contacted me to photograph his business profile image for LinkedIn and other social media. At the time, he was a lifelong Military man transitioning into the civilian work world.

The photo session was brief and straightforward. Austin knew what he wanted, and we completed the session in 10 minutes. After a brief discussion, I agreed to do a second, casual portrait.

After the first two images, I decided to try something spontaneous. I suggested to Austin that whatever his feelings were right then, go there. I asked him to wait a moment until I turned around and walked back to my camera. When I returned to the camera, I would press the shutter release immediately. We both agreed to stop there.

Can't Find My Way Home

Title – Steve Winwood

One day later, I started the post-photo session work in Photoshop. The business image of Austin was a straightforward, classic profile photo. The second image was a very different story. It was a spontaneous, emotional image photographed in a portrait setting. I let the emotion of the image carry my artistic instincts.

I sent the finished images to Austin. Commenting on his second portrait, I mentioned that I had never finished a photo that way. I informed him I would redo it if he did not like it.

His response was, “Don’t you dare touch it.”

Reactions:

The most compelling reaction came from an acquaintance and fellow photographer. I didn’t know he was ex-Military before showing him the image. When Dan saw the picture, his response was emphatic. “I know exactly how he feels. That was me.”

Creating images that people could connect to emerged as a driving passion.

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