Concepts Week 3: The Faceless Portrait

February 19, 2011

Well, boys and girls, it’s that time of week again. Time to show artistry and mastery of the course known as Media Practices: Concepts. As I am neither an artist nor am I a master, I’m going to show you some pretty pictures instead. The subject of my exploration into the world of digital photography that does not include a few martinis (just a very cheap bottle of wine, but I’ll get to that later), is Ian, my lovely boyfriend and a much more (MUCH more) experienced photographer than I am. My thanks goes out to him for being my willing test subject, a giver of equipment, and a patient teacher. What? You think I knew how to use his camera? I needed his help to find the “on” button.

This first shot is up there as a favorite of mine. Based on a famous Magritte painting titled The Son of Man, I wanted to see if I could replicate some of the feeling of the original. Obviously, with the apple being held up instead of floating there, most of the absurdity is gone. But I still like the way the shape of the apple mimics that of his beard and the very subtle shadow it casts on his face. And of course, he has to ham it up for the camera.

Another apple shot that I really liked. The fall off of the light is a bit sharper here on his face. There is also an interesting spear of light going through his fingers onto the apple that I found interesting. And it proves what I’ve always known: he’s a big mouth.

This picture has to be my favorite, I’m just so happy with how it came out. It’s just so soft, as though you could actually feel the texture of his hair. The light in this shot is kinda fluid as well, which softens the shadows here. What I love most, though, is the positioning. I feel like if he were perfectly centered in the picture it wouldn’t have the same impact as the way he is off to the left. To me, it looks like he had a profound thought and needed to leave to work through it.

Ah, the super dramatic pose. If I hadn’t been the one to actually take the picture, I would not have known this was Ian. He looks so incredibly different here it almost frightens me. Between the sharp contrast of the light and the darkness around him, plus that terrible face he pulled, he looks a hundred years old. Having said that, I’m so very proud of this picture. I wasn’t entirely sure it would work the way I wanted to and I think it worked even better than I had planned.

Doesn’t it sort of look like he’s running from something? That’s the impression I get when I see this one. With him all jammed up into the corner there, it looks like he was holding the camera when something spooked him. The eye immediately falls on him then moves over to where he’s looking as if hoping to see what scared him.

THERE ARE NO LEFTOVERS, ONLY ZUUL. This was my attempt at a long shot, given my space constraints. I don’t know what else to say except that, between the light from the fridge and the angle of the photo, it looks like my world has gone topsy-turvy.

When I saw this one, I told him that when he decides to finally create that country album, this should be the cover. Of course, I’d hate to be there when he goes into contract negotiations. I like the way that you can pretty much imagine what his entire face looks like even when he is looking up and has the bottom half obscured.

I can’t really say why I like this shot, but I do. I really really do. The emotion in this shot seems very real (enhanced by the cheap bottle of wine) and the darkness only seems to enhance that air of despair in the shot. Originally I thought this was going to be far too over-exposed, but it worked out pretty well. Just goes to show that even screw ups can work wonders.

Ian wants to know why the rum is gone. Though I could have gotten closer to take this particular shot, I thought that I was able to show enough tension here. He really wants what’s in the bottle and you can see the hunched lines of his body curling into the side of the picture.

When I read about vectors, I thought this would be the perfect shot to illustrate that. All the lines in this shot point to Ian. And, um, the pot on his head. I love that not only does his nose line up with the line of the fridge, but that the card stuck to it with a magnet seems to be pointing at him. And possibly laughing.

The only decent silhouette shot I was able to get. Sticking with the “my boyfriend is apparently an alcholic” theme, you’ll see he’s holding his bottle of $4 wine. Yes, I’m not joking about the price. But when this one worked, I think it really worked! The lines are just beautiful, the bottle adding a little extra excitement rather than just him sitting there.

Of all the photos I took with this shoot (over a hundred I think), these were the best of the bunch. For my first try working with a camera that was more advance than my Olympus Coolpix point and shoot, I’m ecstatic with how everything turned out. Perhaps this is something I could really get into. Although…that damn camera is kind of heavy. Who knew this would require upper body strength?


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