Watching and hearing freight trains travel though the small Ohio village where I grew up was a childhood joy. The age of the steam locomotive was drawing to a close so seeing an engine up close, especially at night, was a powerful visual and auditory experience. Listening to the evening train pass through town in the distance from the open summertime window of my bedroom was a different experience.
What do freight trains have to do with shooting portraiture? If you wanted to shoot my portrait with a peaceful expression, ask me to think of the evening freight trains passing in the distance. A remembered experience linked to the mood and emotions of the moment. Most people have emotional links to music and other auditory experiences. Music or other sounds can shape a mood or emotion in a subject that will come through in an image. Charge the iPod and experiment at your next portraiture session.
Photographer O. Winston Link recognized and documented the end of the steam locomotive era. See his work here.