I was keeping company with a friend who was in need of a car rental. Inside the rental office building, while he conducted his business transaction, I scouted for a suitable stranger to approach to photograph.
In a scan of the long room, I observed this young woman enter with a small group of people. The others went to a rental counter leaving her to stay back in the waiting area. She was alone with a single roll aboard suitcase. I approached her with my introduction. She was familiar with Flickr, and agreed to participate without missing a step. Meet Kelly, 36/100 of my 100 Strangers.
I suggested we move a few paces closer to a large window, to permit a portrait with some natural light on her face. She was less than three feet from the window. I used a reflector to fill in areas on the side of her face that was closer to the interior of the room. The effect was only mildly helpful. Because of her hat, I couldn’t bother to bounce a fill off the ceiling; it would only have placed greater shadows down onto her face.
When we concluded our creative portion of the encounter, we sat on nearby seats and chatted a bit. Kelly is 23 years-old and came out to Albuquerque from Dudley, Massachusetts. She is visiting New Mexico for the first time. Kelly and her group were renting a car to drive just outside of Santa Fe. They were about to embark on a landscape painting workshop in Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM. Their destination is an educational retreat center known for both excavated dinosaur fossil discoveries and more famously as a site of rugged landscape inspiration for 20th century American painter Georgia O’Keeffe.
Kelly studied business at Worcester State University and minored in Art. I asked her to describe herself to me:
“I always overthink things,” Kelly confided.
Once we finished the exchange of email contact information, I offered her recommendations for dining in Santa Fe; also, a convenient side trip for unusual landscape scenery between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, in case they were to have time before leaving the area.
When Kelly replied to confirm receiving her portrait, she said that she thought it was beautiful. That made my day. It was gratifying to portray her as a work of art as she was embarking on a week of making her own art.