Portraits

Looking back through the last years pictures, I noticed how few are of people. I seem to have twenty pictures of bugs for every picture of a human- I’m not sure what that says about me!! Below is probably the closest I would usually come to a portrait. It was taken with a toy camera using medium format film, and is more about the shape and shadow than revealing anything of the person. Some recent projects have required me to photograph people, and I have learnt I have a lot to learn…

A casual shot of my sister hiding under a hood on a bitter cold day on the Essex coast.  It brings back some great (but chilly) memories, but doesn’t show enough of her face to give much away… I think pushing the hood back just a little to show her eyes would have made a big difference.

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The shot below was from a shoot for a local knitwear company, who make gorgeous garments from some very spoilt sheep. I like how the girls are doing something, not just sat looking at the camera- they look like they’re having fun.

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Oh I can’t resist shooting into the sun, and that ‘halo’ effect. I’m sure these flares are poor form… but so pretty!

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The shot below was from a mum and baby shoot for friends. Better lighting here would have shown the shape of her face better, and not led to the illusion of an extra chin that she definitely has no got!

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I prefer this shot of my camera-shy model, it doesn’t show much of her face, but does show a bit more of her character.

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Here’s a very different character, shot in Brixton London. My friend R has just returned from six tough but special years of self-sufficiency in the wilds of South America. She’s twice as bold as brass and is now continuing her adventures with a rather lovely little one in tow. It’s an ‘almost’ shot. Just before we left, little A had a good old chew of the camera, depositing a glob of baby spit  exactly where R’s face would be. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing… a nice soft-focus facial effect could even be flattering. But for someone who’s experienced so much, and travelled so far, her grit is hard-won, and shouldn’t be softened away…

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I’ll admit this is a gorgeous picture- A’s a gorgeous baby so you can’t go far wrong! However… I could have easily moved my position to get a clear background, and to reveal her full hands. And some extra lighting from the left would have knocked out the hard shadow around her face. The shot below would also be better with a plain background. Yes it can be fixed in photoshop quite quickly, but better to have your shot right in the first place!

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So it looks like I shall be practicing portraits this year. Watch this space!

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