Above: Image by George Barris
Above: Image by Cecil Beaton
Above: Image by Gene Korman
If I’m showing my model how to stand, where to look and what to think about while I take their portrait then how much is the portrait about them and how much is it about me?
I believe a great portrait is a collaboration between the photographer and their model. A great portrait photographer has the ability to reveal a side of their model that nobody else will see in quite the same way.
You only have to look at portraits of the very famous to see just how different they look when they are photographed by different photographers. Have a look at this selection of images of Marilyn Monroe, one of the most iconic women in history. Three different photographers show three completely different sides of Marilyn. Yes, they are all images of Marilyn but the mood and feel of the images are directly influenced by the photographer.
How we see the world and others is what makes us unique. We as photographers tell stories with images and those images are shaped as much by who we are as by the subjects we photograph. Every tiny decision that goes into the making of a portrait will influence the final outcome. The light, camera angle, lens choice, depth of field and most importantly the moment you choose to press the shutter.
What do your portraits say about you?