Tuesday, February 8, 2011

testing the portrait

My process is partially inspired by the writings of Annie Leibovitz, as I am currently sifting through a book titled, Annie Leibovitz at Work. So far I have realized, no matter how gloriously talented a photographer may be, a portrait that truly defines the subject is no swift journey. During one of her commissioned portrait campaigns, she devoted an entire day to interviewing and researching each subject. She is of the persuasion that solely reading about the person is not enough. A one on one exchange is much more effective if truth is the pursuit.
With Annie on the brain, I met up with Taylor at her house. (I recently purchased a set of strobes, so I am officially mobile!) When she opened the door, a pretty and especially clumsy puppy attempted to give me a hug—I knew I was in the right place. This project is sort of an invasion into the lives of people, some I only know from afar.

As we sat down at her table, I grabbed my detective hat as well as a pen and paper. Vintage details everywhere—I had a hunch. My inner Sophie Calle peaked out. Should I walk around photographing objects that I find interesting and ask for a story? Should I ask her to leave the room while I take a gander and determine a possible narrative? First things first, this is the just the facts ma'am part of the project, and my word, and I would like to create a (loose definition) traditional portrait.

Taylor began explaining how she has a hard time throwing anything away. And sentimental she is, her apartment contains many inherited items from her grandmother and great grandmother. Even Taylor's cat, Calle, belonged to her grandmother. Her world revolves around family. Upon the completion of the casual interview, I waited. Surely it would happen. The sign. The one that flashes with (almost all) working bulbs with the arrow pointing towards which path to pursue. (This is beginning to become a little verbose and so I will stop now...thank you for listening.)
For this portrait study, I plan to put into practice what I have (and will) glean from studying the masters. (Those that I consider masters are defined in previous posts.) I will bathe in their processes and emerge anew. My personal goal is to collaborate with the subject and allow the processes I have learned thus far from graphic design to merge with the tests.

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