In my Black Angeles series, I’m attempting to reinvent the formal portrait by mixing genres – studio and street, black-and-white and color, fact and fiction. My method is to use a traditional studio portrait backdrop but on the street with available light. I’m shooting black-and-white film but selectively hand-coloring some portions of the image in PhotoShop. My subjects are African Americans; passersby at 5th and Spring Streets in downtown Los Angeles. They don’t know me, and I don’t know them, but I ask them to trust me for 2 or 3 minutes while I strive to blur the lines between the personal and universal. My goal is to create a visual effect that surprises the viewer into “looking anew at the formal portrait” and thus potentially seeing more. I started this project in June of 2009 and it remains in progress today. My hope is that some day it will suggest a small part of the black experience in Los Angeles for this time and place.