My first portrait series - the most challenging yet my most adventurous!

by Luke Hagemann December. 11, 2016 2975 views

Not too long ago, perhaps about three months past, two of my closest friends and I were enjoying the last few rays of Spring. We were standing on the balcony in their garden rambling on about life's most darkest and lightest sides (as we always do). The afternoon wind slowly began to usher itself in most graciously, and at that moment I took my camera up from around my neck and snapped what would be the start of one of the most hectic times of my photography profession - my White & Black portrait series. This series all started with that one shot of my friend and lasted for 56 days from that moment onward. 


"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion" - Dale Carnegie


This is the shot that started it all. It is titled "Jacci"

This is one of my dearest friends, Jacci. She has been in my life for the past 3 years and every moment with her has always been amazing. Whether we're both talking the most unnecessary banter or having the deepest of deep conversations, every moment is a joy. She is so precious, stunning, warm-hearted and the frankest of the frank- yes one of the most honest people I know. My one and only friend who is of Croatian descent.


"It's going to be hard, but hard is not impossible" - Unknown

The eighth post in my 56 part series, titled "Phillippa"

Where do I begin about this beyond precious friend of mine, Phillippa! Having known her for the past four years of my life has felt more like 40 years of a life that has been worth more than living. As an unknown author once said, "The only people worthy to be in your life are the ones that help you through the hard times and laugh with you after the hard times pass", Phillippa is the perfect example of this caliber of friend, to the highest degree. I must say though that we have had our most passionate affrays but on the contrary to that, we are the closets of friends who have had the jolliest of times, to sobbing on her sea-side lawn about our broken hearts. Oh, and how can I forget - all of this happens over cup of green tea, lemon water or a bucket of wine! 


"I am not interested in rules. Live by kindness. Love by passion" - Unknown 

The 5th post in my series, titled : "Ryan"

~Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me , guttering , chocking, drowning...~

     - Wilfred Owen- 

I feel that Wilfred Owen's portrayal of war and death is most ardently yet pugnaciously described in his poem, Dulce et Decorum Est. Do we really comprehend what the First and Second World Wars may have been like? The helpless feeling being completely lost and so close to your soul leaving your earthly prison. Having the music of bullets fly passed so close to you, sometimes even closer than when your warm breath leaves your mouth and hits the icy air. This portrait pays such close resemblance to  that of WW1, to me that is. As I was going in for the shot, I could imagine this photo being found in the trenches by a surviving soldier, who may have known the fallen or even may have been on the opposing side. It really has immense emotion! The tired worn-out eyes, serious face and regal poise tell stories of love, death and fate.


"Oh, how I long to run away from normal days! I want to run wild with my imagination!" 

- Alice in Wonderland-

This was the 55th post in my series: titled "Carla-Rae"

I have no words, my preciously magical sister, Carla-Rae. From the most adventurous moment I entered this whimsical world of wonderful things, this beyond beautiful and most extraordinary creature and I have been the closest any brother and sister have ever been. If I may describe this with lots of 'muchness' (as the Mad Hatter fascinatingly uttered), Carla-Rae and I can be regarded as the same person, it is a feeling that I find most difficult to depict, describe or anything of the sort. I can go on and on for all of time as to why this is the case but I will cut my verbose behavior short and just leave you with what I have mentioned prior. She is a magical being, a fairy, a bird with rainbow feathers and a soul so deftly sweet - she will most surely sweep you off your feet. 


"Sometimes thinkin' about life can be a lot more stressful than just livin' it" - Unknown 

The 23rd post in my series: titled "Michael-John"

Now doesn't he look oh so dapper!Just imagine this now. Its the mid-1920's or early 30's, in New York, and Summer has reached its climax. Heat waves can be seen hovering and dancing over the rickety scaffolding, as Old-Time Steel workers clank away at the juvenile shell of the Empire State Building or The Chrysler Building. Suspended miles above the hard-tarred surface of the bustling roads below, with flappers flaunting their Gatsby-styled mode and blood-red lips to the men as they lather in their snake skin shoes, the mild breeze hits the sweaty and worn out faces of the workers as their spare change tinkles in their deep overall pockets. In the distance, the ringing of a church bell can be heard over the foghorns of ships, indicating lunch break. The hammers and spanners are disconnected from blistered and greasy hands; the sounds of cigarette lighters fill the air - and so the grey tobacco smoke meets the horizon, the feeling of liberty enters their lungs.


"I will do what queens do; I will rule!" - Daenerys Targaryen (A Game of Thrones)

The 53rd post for my series: titled "Melissa"

The sun has just begun to rise above the tall walls of a castle that has endured many blood-stained battles for the past 600 years. The year is 1360 and an unknown warrior queen stands dignified and regal, dressed in her most magnificent attire, atop the highest terrace of the dark-stoned castle. She looks out passed the castles walls as the infant sunlight dances off the water and into her myrtle green eyes revealing the vermilion speckles faintly populating her irises. A faint breeze slowly begins to sweep over the hanging gardens and gracefully carries a sweet scent of jasmine that the queen enjoyably inhales.


"Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect and attention that you should be showing yourself" - Unknown 

The 56th and last post for my series: titled "Luke"

This was the final post for my White & Black series - a self portrait. I have never been one to be in front of a camera and I have always hated having my picture taken. Yet, after all the most amazing, beautiful and extremely different people I met and shot, who had incredible courage and esteem to let me shoot them, I decided to face my own lens and wash my series away. The experience that I had conducting this series was one I have never had before. It taught me confidence (about my work, myself and with other people), patience, endurance and finally it taught and showed me the astonishing emotional elements of personality and uniqueness.

We are all truly remarkable creatures! 


To see the entire series you can click here where you will be redirected to my website!

Join the conversation
There are 13 comments , add yours!
Ashleigh Daines 3 years, 11 months ago

I love the way you use words to colour your stories❤

3 years, 11 months ago Edited
Amar R 4 years, 2 months ago

Amazing portraits Luke ! .Liked the sharp eyes .

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Carmen Boutot 4 years, 2 months ago

Beautiful work!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Kenny H 4 years, 2 months ago

Nice work!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Holly Crocker 4 years, 2 months ago

Truly lovely series!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Baptria 4 years, 2 months ago

Great set!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker 4 years, 2 months ago

Amazing portraits - as someone who isn't good at photographing people I'm in awe of your work!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Luke Hagemann Replied to Helen Hooker 4 years, 2 months ago

Thank you SO much Helen! I really appreciate what you have said and take all your words to heart!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Giancarlo Fosci 4 years, 2 months ago

Great portraits, congratulations!!!!!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Ram Ya 4 years, 2 months ago

Amazing work, Luke! There is something about your Portraits that is more than the bokeh effect and the tack sharp focus.
I enjoyed your writing as well. Every section starts as if I started reading a Novel!

Your friends and siblings are beautiful and your appreciation of them is even more beautiful!
Looking forward to seeing your journey here.

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Luke Hagemann Replied to Ram Ya 4 years, 2 months ago

Thank you so much Ram! Your compliments mean so much to me and I really appreciate every word you said. I wish i had started this blogging thing ages ago, it has been a lot of fun and such a let-loose for me where my own voice can be heard in conjunction with my work. I am so enjoying being part of this community! I am thrilled that you're enjoying it all!

4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Ben Mckechnie 4 years, 2 months ago


These are pretty damn amazing if I may say so. Your friends are incredibly lucky to have
a pro photog friend to take their pictures. #5 is like seeing an old portrait of James Dean,or a
hip beat poet from the 40s - it's straight out of the pages of 'On The Road'. Your friend Melissa
looks like Nicole Kidman! I can see where you're coming from with the WW1 comparison if I
imagine a helmet and bayonet superimposed in there. Interesting idea. WW1 poetry was one
of the things that got me into English Literature as a teenager, so I feel ya. Well, thanks for
sharing this post with us. Cheers!


4 years, 2 months ago Edited
Luke Hagemann Replied to Ben Mckechnie 4 years, 2 months ago

Hello again Ben!

Wow! Thank you very much for every word that you said; all these replies and comments are pushing me so much further in terms of my confidence. I hope to do another post soon, a very different one! I am looking forward to reading your new post soon!

Bye for now! :)


4 years, 2 months ago Edited