There's something appealing about the portraiture of David Schmidt, a Richmond photographer now testing the limits of his yellow period. Like heroes Dole, Del Monte and Harry Belafonte, the 26-year-old's medium is bananas: bruisable, sensitive anthropomorphs.

Schmidt is whimsically calypsoid in approach, brash in his primitivism, like Rousseau in his innocence, like Gene Davis in his single-mindedness. In "Ban and Anna," he reminds us of the cosmicality of life. He teases his perishable models into peeling, then tossing their fleshy carapaces slipshod, that he might focus softly on the fruits of their love.

Schmidt's earlier surrealistic "Bananas on the Clothesline in the Rain" (a tribute to Dali) and "The Road-Killed Banana" have given way to warmer realism, authentic and fresh. Might we say incredibly penetrating? The pathos of "Anniversary Party," the hauteur of "Spring Fashions"--even the seedy setting of "Bananas ,a Deux"--are ripe with emotion.

Schmidt, also part owner of a frame shop, will tour the continent showing works from his European collection-- "A London Bobby with Banana" and "The Big Ben Bunch"--this season. He is most excited about his show, "Summer, 1982: The Louvre," an unofficial hanging. "Whoppity crunch. That's sure a big deal," said Schmidt, with the conviction of a top banana.