Monday, 28 November 2011

The Portrait Element

The Brief

The third assignment of this semester is titled The Portrait Element

Portraits are an important aspect of any photo story, and there are four ways of going about them: observed, formal, environmental and detail. By making pictures for each element the viewer can gain a far wider understanding of the people being profiled. The assignment dictates that we create two "compelling" portrait profiles; one man, one woman, using all the elements mentioned above. The subject matter is entirely up to us; we must undergo research and arrange shoots so we can go back more than once to build an on-going study of that particular person and to refine the content of a successful image.


At least two of these portraits must be lit by flash, either in the studio or on location. The project, as with the this entire semester, must be shot on 35mm black-and-white film. The contacts, work prints and final prints must be done traditionally, i.e. in the darkroom.

My Thoughts

I am really excited about this assignment, more so than The Establishing Image brief, which I am yet to fully complete. I have not had a lot of experience within portraiture, and it is something that recently I have wanted to get more in to having seen some really great work by numerous practitioners and course-mates. 

I already have my female subject in place - Hannah Tonkin; three-times married, mother of four living in a council estate in Penryn. I have photographed her family previously, during the Person at Work assignment when I spent the day with a community support officer. She is the mother of the child who was receiving threatening texts from another eleven-year-old. I visited their house again over the weekend, and asked if I could carry out my portrait assignment on her and her family; she was happy to help and very enthusiastic about the whole thing. I am to start photographing her tomorrow afternoon. I am really excited to get to know this family and build up an interesting story which will hopefully be compelling  and detailed. 

More work to follow soon.


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