Untitled © Laura Hughes

Erika © Laura Hughes

The first image of this small series is of a woman who I am unfamiliar with, even now, with whom I had seen at a children's benefit that Mayor Tom Barrett had been asked to speak for on behalf of The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. I had been asked to take photographs of the event and while the Mayor was delivering his speech, this woman was of equal interest to me. Perhaps it was the way she was sitting, the subtle lighting, or her expression, but I was intrigued enough to capture the moment and went back to my duties.

The second photograph is that of my best friend, Erika. We met at an art High School and were always joined at the hip. I am the most comfortable around her as I am my immediate family, if not more, even after not seeing each other for a longer period of time. After High School we went from seeing each other all the time, even on the weekends, to a very limited amount due to my school commitments. This image was taken in the photo studio at MIAD during a break in-between photo-shooting, and I believe it fairly accurately represents how we are when we are in the same vicinity. The environment I most see her in these days is the photo studio, so I believe this is fitting within the 'environmental portrait' parameters.

Some could argue that the first image, though I don't know the individual, is more "real" than the image of Erika. I think they both are very real moments, but when I was inconspicuously in the background for the first photograph, I was able to capture a much more unplanned occurrence, whereas the other is of my best friend being aware of my camera and making a silly face at me. I think it is still very personal, as she is still in direct eye contact with me through the lens, and we were sharing our fun times together.

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