‘Building on this terms brief and in preparation for next terms classes you need to
make 2 portraits. You can interpret this as broad as you like, but there are 2
stipulations. One portrait must be of a person you know well and one portrait
must be of someone you do not know.’
The task is centred around way one should ask an individual for their portrait. The process will obviously differ when approaching a stranger, to when approaching someone you know well. The task requires us to approach only two people. Portraits is a type of photography that I appreciate because of the contact between the subject and the photographer. Its also a type of photography that I really want to get better at but I always shy out of because of the vulnerability I’m put under photographing someone I don’t know. However, researching essayist Brene Brown‘s teaching has encouraged me to take this task as an opportunity to get better at approaching people. She argues that ‘there is no creativity without vulnerability‘; saying that if we don’t stick by our ambitious ideas and take the easy way out, we are not reaching our optimum creative potential. She also highlights the famous Theordore Roosevelt quote:
‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’
This research has made me want make a project out of the task to evolve my portraiture skills. I’ve challenged myself to make over 10 images overall for the project. This will hopefully make me a better photographer; moulding me into the second year with skills I should have practiced more in the first.
I wish to use the internet to raise awareness for the project and get people involved. Photographer Molly Landreth formed an online community to help raise support for her project ‘Embodiment’. This consequently helped her find the people to photograph and fund the projects publication in book form through website kick-starter. Phillip Todedano also broadcasts his admiration for the internet because it makes art more democratic and if its not accessible and engaging then it isn’t art. Listening to both of these photographers share their opinions on the internet on a talk given by Andy Adams has helped me realise the potential of the internet, and encouraged me to form my own community of followers to support my professional practice module.
Hopefully my outcome with match my expectation for this project