When it comes to portraits, specifically ones that I am creating (not requested by the sitter), it occurs to me in fragments... sometimes it's a space, or a mood, or the sitter themselves that serve as inspiration.
For this portrait of Katie, it started on the heels of thinking about creative spaces (after photographing Emeline in her studio). I've known Katie for a long time and I knew that her creative outlet had become a local ceramics cooperative. I also wanted to explore who it is we become when we have those moments where we are not creating for anyone but ourselves. It is those moments where I know I truly feel connected to something else.
I'm interested in those spaces that remove you from those roles & responsibilities (spouse, mother, daughter, sister, friend, boss, employee, etc.); where you are, however briefly, you. Without judgment, pressure or interruption.
Communicating this makes posing essential to the portrait. So I started looking at portraits of men, because without knowing it, most often women resort to "closed" posing. It's a type of posing that asks for approval vs. a confidence that states implicitly "this is who I am". The details are subtle but the effects change the reading.
With Katie, I shared some images with her via Pinterest, like these two portraits: Robert de Niro taken by Annie Leibovitz and Michael Keaton by Mark Seliger.
I find this type of research and preparation, shared with the subject, very helpful prior to the shoot. In the end, the moment Katie did this particular pose, I knew I had the shot I had wanted to get.