11/27/2010

Who are you?

There are many photographic clich├ęs used when trying to describe the importance of images. "An image speaks a thousand words" is one which tends to be used to death. There is also the statistic banded around that apparently, it takes just between seven and thirty seconds to make a first impression. With photos, this time is reduced to a mere one or two, and so really hammers home the importance of a good, well lit headshot.

Headshots at The Second Floor Studio are probably one of my favourite things to shoot. Strange when you consider that we have all manner of quirky showmen and models waltzing through our doors to the studio. Yet there is something so satisfying about taking an intimate portrait with holds a strong look of both beauty and intensity to it, especially when the person looking into the lens is just your everyday Joe / Josephine.

Of course everybody is unique, and I don't mean "everybody" in a derogatory manner. What I mean  is it's nice to take a photograph that you're not going to have to photoshop to death afterwards. The photo is allowed to keep the character defining wrinkes, roles and lines which make a face all the more interesting. It's a proper portrait, rather than a digitialised dream, and is something which I consider completely seperate from most of the work that I do. Of course, I love the unreality which fashion brings; it's a complete and utter fabrication from the structured and padded underwear, to the face shaping make-up and lighting, but the photos which you take can sometimes become less a photo, and more a mini collabarative work of art between yourself and a team of people. Whereas a good portrait; a strong, sharp, eye-gazing image is different. It's real. You want to almost be able to touch the stubble, or ruffle the hair. They're the people that you meet in a cafe, at a supermarket till or sat on a park bench eating sandwiches. They're the people who have real lives and real stories, and are the very essence of portraiture, and the reason why I love it so much.

Bunny Munsta, Stokey

Jane Hallam, Soho

Carl Morris, The Lexington

Tom Perry, Gladesmore Garden

Salty Seadog, Broadstairs

Geoff Carr, Gladesmore

This along with landscape will always be the type of photography that I love the most. Just capturing those moments, those expressions, those sentiments in a image. They are of a time, and will always remain from that moment. Headshots, are almost reverse, and attempt to hold a almost timeless quality. Yet with that, they still never fail to engulf that deep, searching stare that makes them have such an impact.

Matt Toppin, The Second Floor Studio

Suzie Lantham, The Second Floor Studio
Julia at The Second Floor Studio

Suzie Lantham, The Second Floor Studio
I often feel that is because they are in essence, such simple images. The person is stripped bare. It's just them, their stare, and the camera lens. And because of that, the image entails both a powerful stance, but also, a gentle, vulnerable beauty.

One of the less cheesey photograph quotes comes from the legendery Ansel Adams.

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."

However, I also feel the need to add in something from Stephen Rea... "People ask me to smile for the camera, but somehow it always comes out gloomy."

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