Creative PA Senior Portrait Photographers: Luke

A rugged individualist and young, published author walking in the winter woods that surrounds his family’s farm…

I have photographed both of Luke’s older brothers, first Phillip (cross-country runner and avid reader) and  Nathaniel (a musician- both piano and acoustic guitar) and was so happy when Kristen contacted me about photographing her third son, Luke, before he graduated from Shippensburg Area Senior High School.

Kristen shared, “As you already know, I love your work.  I really appreciate the way you capture the uniqueness of each individual and I have seen it first hand.  I can’t wait to see what you come up with for Luke!”

Luke is somewhat of an enigma.  He’s an introvert by nature but can also be outspoken and opinionated.  He is a rather serious person, intensely focused and driven, yet really likes to laugh at the most random things and enjoys walking in the woods with no particular purpose in mind, wandering but not being lost ;).

I’ll begin with a more traditional portrait…

Luke loves the outdoors, particularly in winter.  He enjoys hiking when it’s “really cold out” and is “drawn to places that are aesthetically darker with higher contrast” as well as “open spaces.”

We walked in the woods for some time and came to this clearing surrounded by gnarled branches and briers yet bathed in intense sunlight.  I shot through the briers, giving depth to the frame as Luke stood in the sunlight.

Luke shared, “I don’t typically wear my emotions on my sleeve.  I see it as my responsibility to put the struggles of others above my own.  I think often and hard about anything and everything.  My internal life is a Rubik’s cube of indeterminate volume.”

The depth, complexity, visual contrast of it all fit Luke so well.  I like that he is standing in the light with intense shadows on his face, too…

It was cold, Luke put on his jacket, gloves and hat, still carrying his father’s long rifle he seemed to be transported back in time.

I changed my aperture to give more detail to the entangled branches and converted the image to black and white, helping to convey a sense of timelessness.

I like the way a single branch divides the frame into two distinct sections– one light and one dark, with Luke standing on the light side…

The sun peered in and out of the clouds throughout the session.  Here it appeared just the right time:

Luke shared, “My dad’s Pennsylvania Long Rifle replica was handmade by a local rifle maker.  I appreciate things that have a connection to the local, natural environment.”

Again, I used layers to show depth (how about those mountains?) and briers in the foreground.  I wanted to try to capture Luke’s guarded, almost prickly outer nature, but soften those edges with a glimpse inside, the fields conveying and openness and honesty,  the mountains showing grounding and strength…

When we discussed what to wear for the session, Luke decided he wanted something that would be timeless and humble.  Luke explained, “Something that hearkens back to a time when tact and decency were an expectation.”  This image reminds me of the sentiment.

The wind was actually blowing Luke’s hat, but he appears to be tipping it in a gentlemanly way.  The colors were exquisite as the sun peered through the clouds rather dramatically, creating orbs of light which seem to pass through Luke…

Speaking of timelessness, for me this photo could be an advertisement in an issue of Field and Stream from 50+ years ago!

This is the same exact shot, but from a different vantage point.  I wanted to use some creative photography techniques to capture something less tangible.

There is a timelessness, intensity and sense of mystery to this image…

Luke likes to figure things out for himself and be his own teacher.  I think this shot shows that inner confidence and self-reliance.  It is a more traditional portrait, still classic Luke…

Now onto something that is incredibly important to Luke, his writing… “In every part of the books I write there is a small piece of self-expression.”  The stunning cover-art was created by Luke’s brother, Phillip.

Nameless Heroes is a novel about a young man and his father who are outcasts operating a struggling farm.  The young man must decide whether to live within the social turmoil of his home or seek a new life of adventure.  It is an epic fantasy, and available for purchase ;)– more here.

Luke shared, “I find that doing things only for one’s self brings no joy. If no one has been blessed by your presence, than no one will be cursed by your absence.”  He’s always thinking… 😉

Hensel’s Hill is a place where Luke knew he’d want to go at some point during his senior portrait session.  We arrived there as the sun was setting in a cloudy sky.  Here is the resulting image.  I like the simplicity and stark contrast in this image– it fits Luke well!

Luke thank you so much for entrusting me with the task of capturing you at this time in your life.  While you may be far from home in pursuit of your educational goals, your roots will always remain. 🙂

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