{The Portrait Diaries}

So, the story behind this post is that I have decided to set myself a challenge. I don’t really know where it will go but that’s the beauty of it. For quite a while I’ve wanted to do a challenge. I tried doing some Instagram photo a day challenges but after a while I found it wasn’t pushing my creative buttons.

I decided I would come up with something that could never fail to interest me and that would allow me to grow as a photographer.  I am passionate about portraiture so I have decided to share a portrait I have taken. I aim to do this every day. We’ll see how it goes.

Some will be fresh from the camera but it won’t always be a same day portrait as I thought it could be just as interesting to pick a few from the past and analyse what we do or don’t like about them.

The aim: to understand what draws people to a photograph, to push myself and my portraiture techniques and to try lots of different approaches. I think any artistic term is always subjective so I can’t wait to explore the boundaries and definitions of portraiture and find out what other people think.

Does a portrait have to be a picture of a person’s face? Does there need to be a human subject? What should portraits aim to be? Should the subject know the photograph is being taken to qualify as a portrait? Is there any such thing as a perfect portrait?

I looked at some different definitions of portraiture whilst thinking about the challenge.

  • “A pictorial representation”
  • “A portrayal of a persons appearance or character.”

I’ve also been thinking about what appeals to me personally. I love all kinds of portraiture. I love interesting images with eye contact either with the photographer or another person. Equally I think it is fantastic when elements of character or personality show through a photograph without even needing to showing faces.

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and ideas on portraiture.

And now here’s my very first image for the portrait challenge. It may seem slightly odd. No face, no feet. But I just love the feel of it. At first I wasn’t sure why. I’ve thought a lot about it and I think it is that vagueness. Viewing it, we don’t know who they are (well I do but sssh!) and we don’t know where they are going. Being a English graduate I’m a bit of a sucker for metaphors so I love mystery and possibility in photos (and in life). Some photos tell stories and others let the viewer imagine one.

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.” -Lord Byron


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