February Theme – Portraiture

Forums Monthly Theme February Theme – Portraiture

This topic contains 44 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 45 total)
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  • #13657
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Very nice work on the art shop owner, Martin. The dodging and burning you did on the first version emphasised the skin areas well, but the extra stuff you’ve done on the second version really enhances the figure-ground separation without distractions. Terrific!

    I don’t think I’m particularly worried by the sloping building in the picture of the man in the tricorn hat – a higgledy-piggledy building seems entirely in keeping with the period!

     

     

    #13658
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

     

    The above was processed in Silver Efex Pro2 to replicate something like the film effect that René Groebli used to use.

     

     

     

    This was taken with a Carl Zeiss Jena 80mm f/1.8 Pancolar mounted on a Fuji X-E2 using an M42 adapter.  Its a wonderful vintage portrait lens, and it gives a much warmer, more three-dimensional look than modern digital lenses, which usually have large numbers of internal elements made of glass that’s treated to increase the micro contrast.

    #13659
    Profile photo of Peter Robinson
    Peter Robinson
    Keymaster

    I like the gritty grainy effect in the first photo, but I think it needs the right subject. I don’t think it suits a pretty lady.

    The second portrait is quite engaging. I like the position of the hand and the friendly expression and muted colours.

    #13662
    Profile photo of Peter Robinson
    Peter Robinson
    Keymaster

    Here’s a couple from me that I’m not sure if the other elements in the picture help or not. In the portrait taken at dusk of the lady in Venice do you think the tower in the background is a distraction or helps to set the scene? You are the judge!

    Similarly, in the picture below I was unable to get a straight shot of the drummer, so included the saxophone to add some interest. Does it help or would you crop it out?

     

    #13663
    Profile photo of Martin McGing
    Martin McGing
    Participant

    How about separating the Venetian lady from the background by darkening and blurring?  That way you still keep the context of the location.  A tighter crop (just above the elbow) would make the lady more prominent.

    #13666
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    A couple where the posing/framing is a bit different from the usual style…

     

     

     

    #13667
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    And while we’re considering ‘portraiture’, you may recal that I wrote a post on the forum a few months back about ‘candid portraits’. It was a slightly edited version of an article I wrote some years ago. The underlying question is whether it’s possible for a picture to be a portrait if the ‘sitter’ doesn’t know they’re having a portrait done. It also hints at the problematic idea that a portrait should ‘reaveal something about the sitter’s “inner self”‘; but more of that another time.

    #13668
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    …so here are a couple of unposed (yes, they really are unposed!) ‘portraits’:

     

     

     

    #13686
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    …and three where the person asked or agreed to let me take their picture:

     

     

     

     

    The first picture is a lady who was a ‘Plough Witch’ at the Battle of Nantwich some years ago; the second is a Romanian guy who used to sell Big Issue locally, who asked me for a picture to send to his family; and the third is a lady who was canvassing for Friends of the Earth in Bradford.

    #13687
    Profile photo of Peter Robinson
    Peter Robinson
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the advice on my portraits Martin. I’ll try that.

    You’ve been a busy bee Ian with some quite different styles. For me the first two have powerful compositions. In the first picture of the girl with dark hair, her left eye is centred horizontally. It just demands attention. Perhaps too much as I find it difficult to look at the rest. I keep going back to that big eye. I find the other eye a bit disturbing as it’s in complete.

    The photo of the lady with the beads is just charming. All the lines lead to her face which has gentle tones and stands out from the dark background. I just get a bit disturbed by the white quadrant to the left of her ear.

    You just ‘the moment’ in photo 3. The girls expression is puzzled and pleasant. In the costa coffee photo I think the ‘Amazing. Absolutely stunning’ sign finishes the photo off. She giving you a nice smile that reflects the signs message.

    Equally the plough witch lady is giving you a nice smile which of course you wouldn’t get in a candid shot. The colours are so important in this one. I wouldn’t have guessed the previous 2 are not posed unless you had said. The Big Issue seller looks very thoughtful. Does that tell you something about his character or is he just squinting because of the bright sun? For me the last photo of the chugger is just a simple straight forward portrait. It’s nothing fancy but does it’s job admirably.

    #13688
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Thanks for your kind comments, Peter…

    In the first picture of the girl with dark hair, her left eye is centred horizontally. It just demands attention. Perhaps too much as I find it difficult to look at the rest. I keep going back to that big eye. I find the other eye a bit disturbing as it’s in complete.

    Picasso???

    I just get a bit disturbed by the white quadrant to the left of her ear.

    Haha! You should have seen it before I toned it down!

    The Big Issue seller looks very thoughtful. Does that tell you something about his character or is he just squinting because of the bright sun?

    He always looked like that. I think he’d not had an easy life. He went home to Romania just before the Brexit referendum last year to have a double hip replacement operation, and he hasn’t come back.

     

    #13689
    Profile photo of Peter Robinson
    Peter Robinson
    Keymaster

     

    Here’s 3 more of my old efforts for discussion. Not all would be classified as portraits by our Portrait Competition’s definition.

    The first one was taken at Blists Hill and was taken shortly before the one Dolores took that did so well. The problem was what to focus on as I was able to get the correct depth of field with the current conditions unless I used a very high ISO. So I chose to focus on the artist, which meant the drawing was just about sharp, but the girl went a bit soft. Do you think this was the best chose or should I have focused on the girl?

    This one is just funny (to me anyway). I think Hayley Strangelove was getting a bit fed up of me photographing her so I got the message!

    Another fun picture. Strictly speaking not really portrait, but I want to open the debate of what is a portrait as it goes around in circles and I think it’s subjective.

    #13690
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    I think I’d prefer the girl to be in focus in the first picture, Peter. She’s the person facing the camera, and is in the centre of the frame, so she’s what you look at first, and what your eye returns to; so I find it a bit uncomfortable that she’s not in focus. (Would it be right to say that using focus as a way of drawing attention to elements of a picture works best if that doesn’t conflict with the overall visual design – i.e. the geometry?)

    The Hayley Strangelove picture is, er, different; it may even be a portrait; it certainly has a pleasing colour palette!

    I wonder if the last shot would work better a little more rotated clockwise, so that the boys and the gantry are aligned with the diagonal?

    Now, your question ‘what is a portrait’ requires some serious thought. So I’ll go away and think about it! 😉

    #13691
    Profile photo of Martin McGing
    Martin McGing
    Participant

    I agree with Ian, I would also prefer the girl to be in sharp focus.  Please no more debates about was is and isn’t a portrait!  A visit to the National Portrait Gallery would be enlightening as would watching Sky Portrait artist of the year.  Artist have been painting portraits for years.

     

    #13692
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Oh, dear! Pace, Martin, but I was going to contribute to the discussion Peter was inviting us to have. However, you seem to be firmly against discussing the matter. So I won’t fill a post with stuff that you don’t want to read; but if anyone’s interested, click here to read my initial thoughts.

     

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