Fine art portrait photography by Craig Boehman.
West Bengal, 2017.
I took this shot from the backseat of a car during a road trip through West Bengal in 2017. We had been stuck in a traffic jam for over 20 minutes and this gentleman would occasionally stop on his bike next to my window whenever we crept forward a couple of feet. I had my camera ready and finally got the best shot of the series. I ended up processing the final image in black and white for my #3StrangersADay project, which happened to fall on Day 263.
Over the next couple years or so I would find myself returning to the image, never quite satisfied with what I had done with it although it had served its intended purpose. There's a few minor things to not like about the original image, the main thing for me being the imperfect framing due to the traffic and the blown highlights on the man's hand. But seldom are good street shots perfect as they're oftentimes taken with little warning, in imperfect lighting conditions, etc.
I decided to re-color and completely re-edit the shot. I cut the man out from the background and began the edit process from scratch in Photoshop. I wanted to put the man in a more cheery background, if anything to serve as a contradiction to the boredom and suffering from the heat of the day while he was completely blocked-in with the traffic. I colored his tank-top purple to match the flowers in the background, which I licensed from Unsplash.com.
I'm content enough with the final edit. It doesn't look too unnatural, perhaps even painterly. After experimenting quite a bit with composite images of late, a process which has included a lot of shots that were licensed through various websites, it was pleasant to switch things up and use my own work as a starting point to create something new.