One Subject, Many Stories Told
Today’s series of images were made during a recent photography workshop in inner city Melbourne. One of the participants, Hansel, was kind enough to pose for photos several times throughout the day. It’s important to work quickly, particularly when your subject is also a paying customer, so the rest of the group and I were careful not to take more than a few minutes each time Hansel was photographed. Nevertheless, the results are good and illustrate some of the key points explored during the day.
For example while you may know what or whom it is you’re photographing, your subject, it’s also important to identify why you’ve chosen them. What attracts you to them and/or what is it that you want to say through your photograph. Only then should you consider how best to illustrate your message.
In the first image I’ve employed strong side light to produce dark shadows. I very much liked the light and shapes present in the stain glass window and wanted to use it as both a light source and a graphic element in the frame. I employed the window light to shape the subjects face and produce deep shadows to balance the graphic shapes in the stain glass.
The second image was made under overcast conditions. The light passed through a large, low-lying cloud bank producing a relatively soft, even light over the scene. Placing the subject off centre and shooting from a mid-range distance lessened his emphasis within the frame. Placing the subject within the former window frame plays with the notion of a frame within a frame.
The next image was made indoors with the aid of window light. Photographed at eye level this is a more straightforward portrait.
The final three images were made at an interesting inner city industrial fixture. Both black-and-white images were made, at different camera-to-subject distances, with the 24mm focal length. Standing further back produced an image that is as much about the environment as it is about the subject. The image made at a closer distance is more of an environmental portrait where the subject is photographed in an environment to which he seems to belong.
Finally, the image made from above explores the portrait from a birds eye view and allows our subject to look upwards, thereby illuminating his face from above.
Adobe Lightroom 2 was employed to process the images. Special thanks to our friend, Hansel, for his patience on the day. It was greatly appreciated.
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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography