All dougKIM photography Essays Los Angeles Women

Portrait | Linds

Linds is one of my best friends and I love her look and her style, full of so many contrasts, so strikingly different. She is not comfortable in front of the camera but I still shot her whenever I could over the years. None of the photos captured what I wanted, none of them conveyed the emotion or mood I wanted. I shot candids of her when we were hanging out, driving, getting coffee, watching TV. I did more formal shoots with her, set the place, directed her. None of it was working.

I kept shooting. The proof sheets were accumulating and she was getting more and more used to me shooting but the shot that I desired, that I knew was possible was not appearing. There were images that were well composed, maybe cool looking, maybe capturing important moments in her life, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Years passed.

On one set shoot, I had her like in her tub in her apartment off of Pico Blvd. I shot her with a Leica M6 with Agfa APX and Fuji NPZ 800. I also shot her with a Holga and those two films. When I got the proof sheets back, I saw it, that little square on the contact, leaping out of me, a vignetted window into a moment of mood, a peek maybe even into someone’s soul. That was the shot. I had gotten it.

Five years. That is how long I shot Linds. It reminds me of the anecdote Diane Arbus tells of shooting Eddie Carmel, the subject of the photo “Jewish Giant at Home with His Parents in the Bronx, NY, 1970”. She had been photographing him for years, looking for that iconic image she knew she could create of him, when one night in the darkroom, she saw the image appear in the tray and knew it was it. She called her friend from the darkroom and told her that she finally had her image.

Nothing so dramatic or important for me, but I also had this moment and a sense of closure. I have only photographed Linds a few times in the years since.

Linds, Los Angeles; Holga, Agfa APX 400 @ Doug Kim

Linds, Los Angeles; Holga, Agfa APX 400 @ Doug Kim

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