Friday, November 18, 2016

Thoughts on Photo Portrait.


Russian photographer Leonid Kyrsky delivered lectures on photo portrait to various student groups.
I would like to highlight the following points.

Photography is your way to appeal to the world with your camera.
Photography is your way to assert yourself in life, because life is finite.
Your photography is the continuation of your life. You embody yourself in your photography and that’s why you’ll be able to pass away calmly. 

Every photograph includes the answers to the questions: “what?”, “where?”, “when?” and “how?”

A photographer should keep in mind 6 main components that lead to success in portrait photography:

1. “I” – you as a personality; you as a photographer;
2. “G” – your gear (cameras, lenses, etc.);
3. “P” – a prototype (a model as a personality; a model as a client);
4. “D” – design principles of visual perception;
5. “E” – expressive means;
6. “C” – conclusion -  the idea of the portrait.


 1. “I” – you as a personality; you as a photographer.

As a photographer I “should know and be able”.
“I should know” means that a photographer could express his/her idea in words.
“I am able” means that a photographer could express his idea in action, i.e. in taking photos.

2. “G” – your gear (cameras, lenses, etc.).

A photographer should know both the technical issues and the aesthetical principles of taking photos.
He/she has to be so comfortable with his gear that he/she doesn't have to think about anything except the subject.

3. “P” – a prototype (a subject as a personality; a subject as a client).

A photographer is not just documenting who the subject is. And a photographer is not making a statement of his own. He helps his subject (prototype, model) to become a great conversationalist through the portrait.

4. “D” – design principles of visual perception.

A photographer needs to know and to use the principles of visual perception, such as the “focal points” principle which states that “Elements with a point of interest, emphasis or difference will capture and hold the viewer’s attention.” (read more here)

5. “E” – expressive means.

Photographing is a complex process, both technical and creative. A photographer needs to use expressive means such as composition, shades, colors, a perspective, a contrast.

6. “C” – the idea of the portrait.

The portrait is a representation of a particular person, which has the similarity with the prototype.
 A photographer has to be able to make his subjects look like themselves, at their very best. But it’s not enough.
Portraits should tell something about prototypes.
A photographic portrait should not only capture a person’s physical likeness, but also something of the person’s character.




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