What I love about portrait photography is it’s like having a dressing up box, only with facial expressions rather than costumes.
I love faces; or perhaps more accurately, I love the way people inhabit their faces.
And I find my own face an endless source of fascination too, though not in a narcissistic way. Maggie is constantly surprised I will take photos of myself with quite unflattering expressions. Perhaps it’s a more female thing to want to always look your best – younger, thinner, smoother skinned, more alluring. But I’m enjoying my face more as it ages: the lines, the skin, the shadows, all make for an infinitely more interesting photograph than some plastic skinned, “perfect” yet immensely dull 20 something model.
Or perhaps it’s just I’m so secure with Maggie I don’t have to worry about impressing anyone else. Either way it makes it considerably easier to try out different photographic and editing techniques, because I’m always available when I need someone to experiment on.
The idea, “the camera never lies” is one of photography’s biggest cons. “The camera never tells the truth” would be a far more accurate saying.
A photograph is a single instant in a continual movement through time. Our faces rarely stay still for more than a few moments, so no one position can accurately embody all the others. It would rather be like hitting a single note and somehow thinking it represented an entire opera.
So what are we trying to convey in a posed photograph? A feeling, a mood, a story, a narrative – something far more than just a brief visual representation (which is the purpose of a passport photo, not a portrait).
Like anything, practice is the key: the more I do this, the better I’ll get.
So, if anyone fancies their photo taken in the near future, I’ll do it for expenses only. This means if you live within easy walking or driving distance, it will cost you a mug of coffee and a blether. If you live in a different country and want to fly me out, put me up for a few nights, feed me food and coffee and fly me home, that will be fine too :)
I’m particularly pleased with the photo below. Don’t be concerned by the expression – it’s an example of what I mean by playing in the costume box. And it has considerably more impact if you click on it for an enlarged version.
What do you mean chocolate's not good for you?