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Monday, May 23, 2011

Playing Subject to Photographer George Krause

There’s something very warm and inviting about the way photographer George Krause not just looks at, but sees people. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve known him for years or just met him, he’s equally as interested in discovering your story through his lens.

You might not know you were in the presence of greatness from his casual, Saturday afternoon style of dress to his laidback demeanor. But the guy’s a rock star by all counts.

Krause graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art and was honored with the first Prix de Rome and the first Fulbright/Hays grant ever awarded to a photographer. He also has two Guggenheim fellowships and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts under his belt.

His work is all about that talent he has for looking and seeing and watching and capturing. This Saturday he was taking Sfumato portraits at the Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery doing exactly that. And I was exited to go.

Krause photographed me several years ago at his studio in Wimberley, TX. So I thought to might be fun to have a go at it again since this clearly would be a very different experience. That first time around was a nude, full body shot.

It was such a crazy day. It was cold and raining and you have to stand in this big light box to be photographed that is just a short walk from his house. So, you’re naked and cold and in this barn type of space, trying not to shiver (or giggle for that matter) while the photograph is taken. 

This time was much easier. Krause was taking head and shoulder portraits using his smaller, portable light box.  Several people were at the studio when I arrived on Saturday just after noon with my girlfriend and daughter (who were also there to be photographed).

I was tickled that Krause remembered me despite it being so long since we had seen one another. He gave me a big hug and told me all about his new large, portable light box that he’s hoping to bring to Dallas before too long to do another a series of nudes.

Then he invited me to step into the box. It’s actually a bit more like an open cave then a box. At 5 feet tall, even with very high heels on, I had to stand on several wooden boxes in order for the light to hit in just the right spot, which also means that my head was almost touching the top of the “cave.” Then he snapped a few shots and he was off to the next subject.     

Krause invited me to come out to his studio again some time, which I look forward to doing before too long, and then we said our good-byes. As I walked through the small showing of his work at the gallery, I was reminded again of why I enjoy his work so much.

Krause’s photographs slow the world down to a complete stop at an instant when one might never otherwise think of stopping. And I am grateful for the opportunity to not just look but, instead, like Krause, to really see.

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