Saturday, 8 November 2014

Wk 5 - Portfolio

I've been asked to consider how i would like to present my portfolio.  If i had the time and finances i would present my final work as an A3 embossed book.  The reason for this is because my photos are personal pieces.  I think that having the photos in a book provides a sense of intimacy and personalize each portrait.  The book requires the viewer to get up close to the portraits; while also giving them the opportunity to reflect over the images at their own pace.

Framing was another option.  I really liked how Allan McDonald's photo were framed.  The framing allowed people to get close up to the works, it was consistent and reinforced the lines which appeared throughout the photos.

Research:
  • Cost of printing at MIT ranges from $60 - 1 metre of double weight matte, glossy or photo paper or $100 - 1m for Hammulher paper (Fine Art print paper)
  • Binders - University Binders Cost for binding is about $66 however as i was binding under 10 prints they were not that keen to take it on.  The person i spoke to said that they could definitely do it but its time consuming and they don't really make any money on it
  • Framing - Basically you get what you pay for! Factory frames: At the lowest end $69 A3 frame with standard glass, $87 A3 frame with non reflective glass, $100 A3 frame with uv protection glass, $107 with standard glass with acid free mat - 
Portraiture research
Photographers i've research to see where i fit into this genre: - 
  • Sally Mann -  "Most of the pictures I take are of the things I love, the things that fascinate and compel me" - 
  • John Miller (South Africans vs All blacks) - documentary photographer and film maker.  He has a strong focus on Maori political history.  His images are shot on location, showcasing the people in their environments.  His photos show his subject quite up close and frame significant protests and events in New Zealand history.
  • Thomas Ruff (portraits) Shot in studio between 1981 and 1985.  His photos are photographed in a similar way, formal passport looking images with the upper edge of the photos situated just above the hair using even lighting.  
  • Cecil Beaton (portrait photographer, produced glamour photos shot in monochromatic film) -  renown for photographing his subject with unusual poses and backgrounds.  His work focused on cultural icons of his day documenting its famous, beautiful, fashion and intriguing figures.
Portrait photography and how my photos fit into the genre -   They are shot in the studio and are known as traditional or classical portraiture.  The purpose of a portrait is to depict a visual representation of the subject.  Common portraits have subjects looking directly into the camera.  Portraits can include head shots, two thirds or full body frames.

My photos are studio portraits.  They consist of mainly head shots.  My subjects have a variety of poses which maybe directed formal shots or playful, unaware shots.  My main focus is to capture a photo which which show cases the essence of the subject.

In terms of photographers who i can relate with, i would say Sally Mann is a photographer i really admire.  In preparation for her exhibition of Proud Flesh she wrote an essay for Conscientious to contextualise her work.  As much as i would love to be able to capture a photo that i believe represents the essence of a bit person.  This body of work definitely nails it.  She challenges us to look, and not be ashamed of sharing the truth.  This  highlights the depth of her art and the strength of her photographic voice.  In terms of my photography, i'm definitely at the beginning of my journey.  I love the photos that i have and the opportunities that photography has afforded me.  I still can't believe how much i have learnt or experienced over this short period.  Being a part of this course has provided me with a huge number of firsts ie: experience working with lighting, photographing in a studio, learning from experienced teachers and meeting amazing Top New Zealand photographers!.  The more i learn, the better my photography will get and the closer i will get to capturing photos which truly represent my subjects.

Cecil Beatons portraits have a classic symmetrical feel about them.  The composition of the subjects are quite linear, he uses a lot of lines and patterns in his photos.  In his works, the eyes are an integral element to the photos, this brings an intensity to the subject.  I love how elaborate his photos can be, which is reflective of his theatrical costume design background.  He has an eye for connecting with the subject to bring out vulnerable moments on film.
I'd love to delve into Cecil Beaton's work a lot more, he was a master at composing shots using props and varied backgrounds which i would really like to experiment more with.  My photos rely on lighting for the background, which works with the effect that i wanted.  I chose this lighting effect mainly because it aids in bringing the subject out more.  Defining spaces in the photo emphasises where everything sits in relation to each other.

These two artists are almost worlds apart.  One records personal portraits of family and friends and the other showcases the beauties of those in elite positions.  They both have made an impression on me in terms of my photography and where i wish to be.  From Sally Mann it is her need to define exactly how she portrays her subjects which really interests me.  I am both challenged and fascinated by her unconventional approach in a minimal setting.  As for Cecil Beaton, i love the glamour portraits with elaborate props and backgrounds.  With my own work, i'd say i sit between these two - I shoot portraits of people that i am closely connected using classic poses, lighting for that dramatic effect and in black in white to keep the focus on the subject.

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