Applying the knowledge gained in the technical lighting workshops and the pre-visualisation techniques learnt, in task 3 you are required to interrogate representation through portraiture.
Taking into consideration the appropriate lighting and location, you are required to create a photographic portrait series to represent one person in 5 images, two/three portraits and two/three objects. Your interpretation of this brief can be as broad as you like but the images need to cohesively fit together and should collectively increase the audience knowledge and/or understanding of the person represented.
Taylor Wessing research
The Taylor Wessing prize is a portrait photography prize where photographers are encouraged to push the boundaries of portraiture no matter who they are. The prize has photographs exhibited that comment on how portraits are taken, interrogating the representation of portraiture. The portraits that are shown are all interesting to see and inspirational. Its been running for 7 years with 60 portraits being selected for the exhibition last year from 5,410 submissions submitted by 2,435 photographers.
Previous winner Spencer Murphy’s photograph of Katie Walsh is my favourite that I’ve seen, it was an advertising shot taken for channel 4, but the artistic intent is there. From looking into her eyes and seeing the mud around her face gives a real sense of what jockey’s go through training and looking after horses. Portraits usual give a representation of a person that has a lot more substance than other utilitarian photography.
Panel member Sandy Naire said “The prize always has this mix between what you might call documentary and what you might call constructed. There’s always that range and there’s always a range of responses because as you look at it as a viewer, you are thinking: how did this come about? What am I looking at?”
All the photographs exhibited show a brief insight into the personality of those present in the frame. Portraiture is a collaboration between the model and photographer, a relationship that can be made awkward or comfortable, and either of these feelings can be easily detected by the viewer. This relationship is a way of interrogating the representation. Another we explored in the ‘what is a portrait lecture’ is that those being photographed want to control the connotations of the photograph and thats why they smile. The most interesting portraits are when the person isn’t smiling because their face will say how they are feeling and who they are. It will draw attention to the eyes which with tell a lot more about a person. Furthermore in self portraits there is a lot of editing that takes place. People will only show others photographs where they look how they want to be seen, they don’t want to show an image of them with shinny skin, spots, their mouth open or their eyes shut because it won’t be the most desirable shot. This is another way portraiture is represented.
‘Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.’ – John Berger
A portrait is a lot less natural that other photography because of the collaboration. But its representation differs from each photographer as can be told from browsing the Taylor Wesser exhibition website – http://www.npg.org.uk/photoprize1/site13/