Often when I photograph people, I have some sort of basis of understanding with them. They, I assume, respect me, and respectively, I respect them, at least for the most part because they are giving me the time to photograph them.
I’m currently taking a class on portraiture at SVA and, since it was raining (why rain prevented him from coming to meet us at the photo building is beyond me and I have no interest in speculating the reasons why), we met at my professor Michael Halsband’s studio. After walking 12 blocks in the rain and being greeted to a studio full of bright, cheerful faces (re:sarcasm), and after a 30 minute demo at examining the way light falls on a subject, he gave us the task of photographing a class mate. Being the eager individual that I am, I went first, and had originally intended on shooting the entire class in the style you see above, but because of time constraints and Mr. Halsband stressing to really examine and change the light and observe those changes, I had to settle for one subject.
I began examining my classmates and stumbled up Sofia. I had met her before but never really talked to her, and well, the short portrait session that followed with her really wasn’t anything spectacular. Combining the attitude and just discerned lack of interest, on top of receiving looks that imply, “you’re doing it wrong”, the only thing I felt positive that came out of the session was the photograph itself. I had this concept in mind before, and have used it before, but I think it works best at this point, or at least using this subject. After having a class with her prior to this portraiture course, I had learned that she, like myself, was a talker, someone that made an effort to put her two cents in in a handful of conversations. Those two cents, well, I don’t know if I surely agree with them, but everyone has their opinion. I think the basis of this portrait was to take her voice away, literally remove her mouth from the frame and just have her peculiar facial expression and Eraserhead like hair smack dead in the middle. After snapping about 15 frames, I decided I had enough of the grunts and attitude and found something I was content with, something that spoke, to me at least. One problem I might have with this course is its focus on the technicalities, which, are great, but I usually keep them to the minimum or push to the side to examine more of an interaction between the subject and myself, so that there is something going on in the photograph that you notice, you pick up on it, you read into it; the photographs I create are meant to intrigue and that is my utmost highest goal in making work.