To Zoom or Not to Zoom- Portraits with Primes

By Forest McMullin 

As a photographer who specializes in environmental portraiture, lens selection is critical to the look of my work. Much of the time I choose to shoot with prime lenses. Let me explain why I made that decision for one of my projects.

In 2014, I was given an artist residency at The Hambidge Center for Arts and Sciences in Rabun, Georgia.  For two weeks that year and again in 2015 and 2016, I was given a cabin tucked away in the mountains, dinner prepared for me four nights a week, and encouragement to do whatever I wanted. I had driven through the area around Hambidge a number of times when my wife and I had gone to the Great Smokie Mountains of North Carolina from our home in Atlanta on camping trips. We often stopped at flea markets along the way and the faces I saw at these rural stops struck me. There was an extraordinary range of types and ages and looks. I knew there was a project here waiting for me to photograph. That idea became American Flea.

© 2016 Forest McMullin| Mary-Lynn Starkey runs a small flea market near Franklin, NC with her husband Roger. They told me they decided to open their store because they needed some way to get rid of the stuff they had accumulated by going to auction. I shot this with the 24mm because I wanted to accentuate the space outside their store. Shot with a Nikon D600, Elinchrom ELB and the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art. Exposure, ISO 100, 1/200 @ F5.6
























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