152mc Working with Light – Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize – Task 3 Development

As part of the brief for the task 3 images in stated that they need to be in the Taylor Wessing portrait style.

The National portrait gallery has been holding the British Photographic Portrait Prize since 2003. Originally sponsored by Schweppes it now uses Taylor Wessing. The competition has continued to grow since its inception and open to both professional and amateurs it attacks over 6000 entrants each year. (Wikipedia 2013)

Jordi Ruiz Cirera (2012)
Jordi Ruiz Cirera (2012)

There always seems to be something personal about each image, something intimate between the viewer and the subject. The tumultuous emotions that constantly roll around inside us change or outwardly appearance every few moments and each of these images seems to capture the point when one of those emotions rise to the surface.

Jordi Ruiz Cirera’s image is of a Mennonite, a reclusive religious sect that shuns all technology. Photography is strictly prohibited so the difficulty in gaining his image was obvious. Cirera had to build up the trust of the people and even then before he took the shot the conversation he was having was relaxed but the moment he raised the camera the subjects discomfort rose to the surface, changing the body language making the person look awkward and compromised.

Jennifer Pattison (nd)
Jennifer Pattison (nd)

Jennifer Pattison’s image stands almost completely opposite to Cirera’s, This image was taken of her friend who over a period of time had forgotten her naked appearance and was quite relaxed. Taken in a derelict house in Brighton her friend has been walking around naked for a while and just become accustomed to it. You would expect the image above to show a person feeling uncomfortable and awkward but you actually have someone quite relaxed and happy to have the image taken.

Taking something in this style requires the photographer to build up a rapport with the subject, make them feel at ease and have a feeling of mutual trust. Someone who is in an uncomfortable situation is constantly guarded and questioning what is happening. This really limits the emotional set you are able to tap into and by getting the person to be more at ease opens up a much greater emotional range. The person I have chosen to shoot is a member of my family so trust is not an issue, however this person is not used to being in front of a camera let alone the subject of an entire photo shoot so I will need to be able to constantly communicate my actions and intentions throughout so the person does not unintentionally throw up an emotional barrier.


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