Monday, 10 September 2012

Notes from the Portrait Lecture

  • What follows are the notes that I took during the small lecture that we had in the digital photography class. They have been rewritten and organized into something that resembles legibility.
  • There is going to be alot of research in this module which is pretty much par for the course at this stage of the course (ahem).
    • Portraiture seems to be the techniques and methodologies that the photographer would execute to get people to come and look at the image for what it is. True expressions are different from posed shots.
    • In general Portraits are used when dealing with people and landscape images are used for places. This is by no means a hard and fast rule however
    • Make certain that the location of the background is supportive of the subject. Backgrounds with a lot of textures in them (walls/bricks etc) can overpower the subject. A less complicated background is even better but total blank is not the best either.
    • Use the rule of thirds when composing the image. This essentially breaks the image into 9 sections, 3 on each row and helps to balance out the image as a whole.
    • In Black and White photography the elements of the colours are somewhat muted and you need to pay attention to the shadows and variations of light in order to create the proper tone of the images.
  • MOODS:
    • At the most basic level it’s easy. Warm colours are bright and cheerful while cooler colours are sad and depressing.
    • Colours that contrast each other work well together but extremes of either of the above can easily overpower an image.
      • Consider the impact of the girl in the red coat in Schindlers List. She is memorable because, except for her the entire film is Black and White.
      • Sin City by Frank Miller is a very good example of contrast being used in a film and in many cases taken to extreme levels.
      • Hellboy by Mike Mignola plays with contrast a lot in the comic, but not so much in the actual movies.
Girl from Schindlers List
Compilation of posters from Frank Millers Sin City

Hellboy Comic
Hellboy Comic
    • August Sander - A photographer during WW2. His work was always black and white due to the technology available to him at the time.
    • Jill Greenberg – A good source for photographic expressions
    • Rineke Dijkstra – full body portraiture
    • Alfred Eisenstaedt – Wartime photography
    • Eric Valli – Colour work
    • Any shoot needs to have appropriate props and a good location which is related to the appropriate time period. Equipment that was used at the turn of the century would be different from that which was used in the 70’s and again from that which was used in modern day.
Turn of the century telephone
1970's phone design

Modern day Cellphone
    • Where there is a true expression of emotion on a subjects face it will always convey more to the viewer than a shot that has been posed and arranged. A lot of the detail is held in the eyes of the subject.
    • A good model needs to be able to express their emotions through their expressions and, to a lesser extent their movements. 

      (Note: when I say movements I am talking about the pose that they are using. There are many different ways to hold a hot drink for instance. A person who is cold will cup it in both hands in order to worm themselves while a busy person will use only one hand while the other gets on with work)
    • An important point is that the photographer must know what they want from their models before the shoot since the time that it takes to accomplish anything is always going to be valuable.
    • The photographer needs to consider whether the final image will be a full body shot or a simpler close-up of the subject.
    • Also important is the use of colour vs. black and white or even a sepia tone in the image – remember, what works for one image may not work for another.
    • It is vitally important that you pay attention to the balance of the image. Good balance of an image defines a good or bad image
    • The subject of the image should be clearly separated from the background while at the same time fitting in easily – This goes back to the supportive backgrounds mentioned above
  • IMAGE CREDITS: - Turn of the century telephone – 1970’s telephone – Modern day Cellphone -
Still from Schindlers List - Sin City Wallpaper Compilation – Hellboy Comic

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