This is a blog about portrait photography, without images.
Some days ago I had a wonderful assignment photographing employees at a big advertising agency. It was many persons to be photographed and I built a small studio at the agency and stayed for three whole days. People were put on a schedule. One person every quarter of an hour.
What strikes me is the importance of an image and how difficult it can be to see oneself on a photograph. I had conversations with everybody to discuss the pictures and to find the image that were true to the person. To find the image that they were comfortable with. Sometimes it was very easy, but sometimes it was also VERY difficult. When it was easy it was like, well those are fine. You choose, it is OK with me. No problem! When it was difficult it was like, NO! Delete these!!! I don´t like my nose! Look at my double chin, can you retouch that in Photoshop? Well, I guess that is how I look. I look like my mother…
It is obvious that the person we see every day in the mirror is different from the same person in a photograph. When you leave the mirror there is no image of you any more, but the picture will stay the same whenever you look at it. At one time two girls came together to help selecting the right picture. That was a great idea! Perhaps one of them said they didn´t like the picture so much but her friend said it was a fine photograph. “You look fine, that is you”. Immediately everything was much easier and it was a simple choice. It is fine to trust a friend.
I also noted that it was more difficult for girls to see themselves then the men. But they also thought they looked fat etc. Taking time for talks they all came up pleased with at least one image. Some said ” I can live with this…”, and they made it smiling.
Being a photographer is hard when the first a person say showing up for a portrait is, ” I don´t like this”. It is just as awful as going to the dentist. !? ( What have we done to deserve theese reputations??? ) I never look good on photographs! So I explain that we will take many exposures, just to choose the best. Blinking is no problem and if you happen to make a strange face, that is no problem at all. But if you only take a few exposures at parties etc. and you blink or make a face. Well, perhaps that is what you will think.
It was great to have the conversations with everybody. Really great. This was one of the most interesting jobs that I have had in a long time because all those conversations. And everybody came up with at least one image that they liked. Personally I think many photographs showed the fine character of the many nice people and fine faces that I met. They all were made in bw. Hope to show you a selection in the future.