When shooting a portrait, I often head out and look for a nice clean background to photograph my subject against. For more than a year, I’ve driven past a big brick building on Washington Street and thought how perfect it would be as a backdrop.

With that in mind, I met up with Bob Wright last week for Keegan Kyle’s story about OxyContin abuse. Not having much time to prepare for the photo, I took a few images on my iPhone of the wall in the photo above. It looked perfect and I was excited to shoot a portrait against it. But the light was fading quickly and with it, my photo opportunity was falling apart.

As Wright approached me, I walked down the hill to greet him. Just as I shook his hand, I noticed what looked to be an old, empty, lit up display sign next to me. I asked Wright to stand in front of it and, even as the sun set behind the clouds, it provided me all the light I needed for this portrait.

So the elusive wall I’ve been meaning to use as a backdrop for more than a year now has evaded me again. Now, I’m determined to get someone here for a portrait. Check back in Credentialed by the end of the week and I’ll post a portrait from this location. And let me know if you have any idea of interesting subjects to photograph here or other great potential backdrops. You can drop me a line at sam.hodgson@voiceofsandiego.org.


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