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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Informing Contexts – Work Evaluation – Male Portrait Shoot

The three images here were shot in a church hall with natural light and an on-camera flash fitted with a honeycomb grid.  To prevent glare from the flash on the lenses in the glasses, we removed the lenses for the shoot. Figures 1 and 2 were shot on a different day than figure 3 but in the same venue and similar lighting conditions.

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Figure 1: Sutherst 2017

Figure 1 is too bright in the face, hand and neck compared to the rest of the image.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it draws the viewer into the image and the focus is on the subject. Although in hindsight a slight less bright edit may have been more successful.

The post process toning has added interest to the image and toned down the jacket which is red and too dominant in the original edit.

Overall, the image is composed well and is pleasing to the eye.

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Figure 2: Sutherst 2017

Figure 2 is a softer image of the same subject.  His hat is a little lost in the background, adding an air of mystery and adding some framing to the top of the head.

The lighting is better in this image than the previous one.  There is more definition in the subject’s face.  The image was shot slightly from above for a more flattering portrait.

This image has a real honesty and rawness about it.  It feels less staged than the other two images in this blog post.  It seems more of a captured moment.  At the point this was taken, the subject and I were having a conversation about general life issues (as you do) and I was still shooting the whole time we were talking.  I really like the vulnerability and softness of the resultant image.  The subject is pleased with this too.

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Figure 3: Sutherst 2017

Figure 3 is a planned and staged image.  I asked the subject to shave his beard for this shoot as I wanted him to channel his inner ‘James Dean, bad boy’ and add his own personality for this shoot.  The subject had brought the leather jacket and cigarette with him in preparation. The idea was to stage a ‘captured’ moment.  I intended to produce an image that could be interpreted as being shot in a caravan or similar.  

The positioning of the subject in front of the curtain was intentional. The image was shot from slightly below the subject’s eye line to help with the composition.  The shadow of the hand is also intentional and designed to make the viewer believe that the subject has been lit by a ceiling lamp.  The lighting has produced hotspots on the face, hand and t-shirt which could be toned down in a future edit.  However, I don’t want the image to look too staged as I quite like the idea that it looks like I have captured the moment.

Working very much in collaboration, we shot several images to get this one.  The resultant image is quite reminiscent of James Dean and other actors of the same time. The top part of the t-shirt could be toned down slightly as it is quite bright, but you are drawn into the image.  The image is engaging and the post process toning, crop and addition of grain adds to the sense that this is an image taken in the 60s or 70s.

Moving forwards, I will be planning to work with this subject again as we collaborate well and are able to try out staging different scenes.

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