When I photograph a person I am afforded the opportunity to meet someone new and learn what makes them unique. I also gain new perspective from their life experiences, which adds to a greater understanding of myself and the human experience. It is like reading a good book, you learn something new about yourself and about the world.
In a perfect world, I would sit and talk with someone for at least an hour before I took their photograph. Through conversation, I am able to investigate and extract specific elements of a person that will become integral to their portrait. My goal is to capture someone's essence by knowing them first. To do that means taking the time to listen.