Monday, 14 February 2011

PnP1: Ex4: An active portrait

It isn’t really clear to me if this exercise requires some evidence of what the subject is doing, or whether the activity is simply an excuse to relax the subject by involving them in something other than looking at a photographer.

In the first instance I’ve taken the second position and produced a series of portraits of my wife while she was playing the piano and singing with our youngest daughter.

It was a somewhat challenging exercise because the piano sits against a wall so it is difficult to get a head on shot, and to complicate matters further the lighting in the room is very subdued forcing me to use bounced flash as I have relatively limited lighting kit.

Given these difficulties I’m quite pleased with the selection of shots I produced. The one on the left is Marion in full voice, while on the right she is talking to our daughter. The wall decor is a bit distracting, but the expressions seem more natural than earlier shots of Marion for Exercise 1.

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The second two shots provide more context Whether the left-hand shot is a true portrait is perhaps a moot point.

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It is certainly the case that the expressions on Marion’s face were more natural while she was concentrating, although I did feel that the lack of eye contact was a downside of this. The location and activity also made it difficult to provide genuine context in a single picture.

If I get the opportunity I will try some extra shots at the piano in the local church, as it stands with space all around, which should make it easier to get a full face shot and perhaps some eye contact.

…and just for good measure

…a couple from my archive. The first is our youngest working on her homework – the colour temperature was a challenge because of the mixed lighting and the pose looks a little uncomfortable (even though it was natural) – however I think the elements work together to show here concentration:

Naomi doing her homework

And finally a shot to show how little contextual evidence you really need to place a shot – this one is one of my son’s friends singing in their band at an outdoor concert – the expression and the microphone make it fairly clear what was happening – and it should be no surprise that Jamie was the vocalist at the time.

Jamie at Silloth Carnival

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