Kevin Forti has always had a passion for photography. After a serious accident left him unable to continue working in construction, he revisited his youthful passion of photography. He enrolled in New England School of Photography in Boston and graduated with a concentration in photojournalism. While attending, he was inspired by both Henri Cartier-Bresson’s street photography and Linda McCartney’s candid images. Learn tips and tricks to how Kevin captures candid photography.
There are two ways to harvest cranberries – dry and wet.
Dry harvested cranberries are the fruit you see sold at farmer’s markets, road-side stands, and grocery store shelves. This is the traditional method, but represents 10% of today’s harvest. In order to dry pick the fresh fruit, the vines must be completely dry. Even a slight shower the night before, heavy dew, or damp conditions from a frost night is enough to delay harvest. Berries are simply picked from the vines by mechanical pickers and conveyed into burlap bags.
Wet harvesting is a quicker processing method. The bog is flooded with up to 18 inches of water the night before. The growers then use water reels, nicknamed “eggbeaters,” to churn the water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Each berry has a tiny pocket of air. This is what allows it to float to the surface of the water. From there, they’re corralled together and loaded into trucks to make things like juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries.
Why Candid Cranberry Photography?
Although I center around street photography, I can’t help but stop to capture nature’s beauty. Cranberry harvesting is strictly local in our state which makes it so unique and special. The process is so involved and I’m able to combine candids and nature; creating a balance that is one-of-a-kind. It’s such a unique process and witnessing it happen is near magical.
What are some tips and tricks you have learned for candid photography?
One trick I have to make people relax and to capture the best candids, is to take the camera away from my face so they can see me. If I do this during a sitting, the person doesn’t freeze up because they see me and become more natural. If I do this during street photography, people often don’t realize they’re being photographed at all.
What do you look for to create impactful images?
What challenges do you face while photographing?
One of my biggest challenges is working through chronic pain I have related to my accident. I have a condition called CRPS, or RSD, which is characterized by severe pain and sensitivity. Mine is mostly in my foot, which presents great difficulty for someone who likes to capture action shots and be out looking for shots, rather than someone who does studio work. Photography was really what gave purpose back to my life after four years of being idle with my injury. Still to this day, 13 years later, it allows me to take the focus off of my pain and lose myself in creativity. Getting out and meeting new people inspires me and helps me to set the pain aside.
How do you post process your images?
I use Nikon Capture NX to download all the files. Then, I scroll through to see what catches my interest. There may be a shot I remember and am anxious to see on the screen, or I may be totally surprised at what I’ve captured. It’s sometimes like opening Christmas gifts!
Once in Photoshop, I start tweaking with various Topaz effects. I choose the plug-ins depending on the effect that I’m looking for. Sometimes I’ll be looking for a little more detail in one area of a photo, so I’ll use Topaz Adjust. Another time, I may be looking for rich black and whites, so I’ll apply Topaz BW Effects. Topaz offers so many great tools, it enhances my work and let’s my creativity run wild.
Other than photography, what other hobbies do you have?
We enjoy RVing and travelling to places that most people wouldn’t think to stop. Last year, we spent a lot of time exploring south eastern part of the US: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and also Tennessee. Each city or town we stopped in, we would look for where the people are: farmer’s markets, fairs, rallies, skate parks, and theme parks, to name a few. I found this is where the essence of a community lies. It was amazing to see how alike we are in so many ways, but we mostly enjoyed finding the slight cultural differences in various places. Changing accents, customs, and where people find their pride is measurable and fascinating.
Prior to that, we traveled across the southern United States from Florida to California, stopping in all of the popular spots including New Orleans, San Antonio, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. We also are avid Disney fans!
Tell us about yourself, Kevin
I grew up in East Boston, Massachusetts where as a teenager I started playing around with a camera. I would always be the one taking pictures while my friends and I were hanging out. After working in construction for many years, a serious accident left me unable to continue in that field. I revisited my youthful passion of photography and enrolled in the New England School of Photography in Boston. There I graduated with a concentration in photojournalism. I left the city and now live in rural southern Massachusetts, with my family, two horses (Thorr and Vinny), a lazy Jack Russell Terrier (Ciel) and a cat (Kipper). While I continue to make a trek to Boston or Providence now and then for some city action, and travel often, the cranberry bogs, nature, and small town life that make up my community provide constant opportunity for photography as well as relaxation.