Thursday, May 3, 2018

Portraiture (is a partnership)...

... or the act of a photographer taking a portrait of the subject, is a partnership, a joint effort.

In the official trailer for Annie Leibovitz's "Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography", in the Masterclass Series, Leibovitz says this: 
"There's this idea that in portraiture, it is the photographer's
job to set the subject at ease... I don't believe that.
... isn't that what we all do? We wait to be inspired
...All the work that I've ever done, the ideas emanate from that
person... stand over here, present yourself".

I would beg to differ. Portraiture is a joint effort, a partnership, where the Photographer has to find, and maintain, a kinship with the  Subject. The Photographer has to go past the shield and gain the trust and confidence of the Subject, if only for the portrait session. A session not only refers to the shooting time, but begins when the Subject contacts the photographer (through a reference, perceived common likes and dislikes). For portrait sessions where the initial contact begins 5 minutes before the seen starts, the challenge is up to the photographer to establish a connection right away. To quote Kirk Tuck (whose blog prompted me to post this, my own blog entry),
"The connection can be one of shared purpose, a physical or psychological attraction
or a shared interest. Some how (sic) both sitter and photographer must bridge the gap 
between each other and enter into the moment with a sense of play... and give and take.
If you don't get some sort of spark or connection that goes in both directions you
haven't made a portrait, at best you've made a document."
Some portraits I've done in this past week:

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