Exercise 1.3 Portraiture typology

The brief:

In response to Sander’s work, try to create a photographic portraiture typology which attempts to bring together a collection of types. Think carefully about how you wish to classify these images; don’t make the series too literal and obvious.

Once completed, post these portraits on your blog or in your learning log, with a written statement contextualising the work.

In studying August Sander’s portraits, I found myself rather drawn to the portraits that he made of couples, such as the images of young siblings below.

Images from August Sander’s ‘Face of Our Time’
Images from August Sander’s ‘Face of Our Time’

I work at a university that is staffed by a large international population so I persuaded some of my colleagues, faculty and students to pose in pairs for me. This work is a spin-off from the Context and Narrative’s assignment 3 in which my self-portrait assignment concentrated on immigration. My only criteria was that both people in the photograph should be from the same country and that they shouldn’t smile. Locations were chosen in and outside the campus. I followed Sander’s posing methods, having my subjects stand close together in a similar fashion to the images above. I relied on natural lighting outdoors and used my flash indoors. My subjects found it rather difficult to keep a detached expression on their faces. I decided to convert all the images to black and white to further introduce some ambiguity into the images. Skin tones and hair colouring are a little misleading in black and white images. With their somewhat deadpan expressions and static poses, my subjects draw the viewer into the frame in search of something familiar he/she might recognize. I found that, by removing my subjects from their place of work i.e. desk, or classroom, and photographing them in other surroundings, their indexicality was reinforced. At the same time the two grids below depict a microcosm of the multiculturalism that exists in Vancouver.

My ethnicity typologies in Vancouver are below.

 

The individual photos can be accessed below.

Zimbabwean
Zimbabwean
Peruvian
Peruvian
Korean
Korean
German
German
Indian
Indian
Mexican
Mexican

 

Bibliography

Bate, D. (2009) Photography: The Key Concepts. Oxford: Berg

Jeffrey, Ian (2008) How to Read a Photograph | Lessons from Master Photographers. New York: Abrams

Kozloff, M. (2007) The Theatre of the Face: Portrait Photography Since 1900. London: Phaidon Press

Images

Beth (2012). Photographic Typologies: The Study of Types [online]. Redbubble Blog. Available at: http://blog.redbubble.com/2012/04/photographic-typologies-the-study-of-types/ [Accessed 7 June, 2016]

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