Emotive Portrait Photography

Hey hey hey!

I hope this weeks post finds you all well!

I’ve always been fascinated by photographic works which stimulate a strong emotive response from the viewer. A recent example of such work is by the photograher Andrzej Dragan, who i have mentioned before on the blog. Andrzej has a great talent for creating powerful portraits which often leave the viewer asking questions of the image.

Dragans work has always stimulated interest on various forums with people trying to decipher the post processing and other special effects that Dragan uses. However such scrutiny is largely a fallacy, as Dragans procesing is only a a small part of the story, a small aid in the rendering of a scene to create an alternative reality. Post processing plays only a small part in the creation of  this alternative state, with the bulk of the effect being acheived through careful selection of models, props, costume and composition.

Careful use of props makes Andrzej’s image unique

Whils post processing supplements the effect, it is not the whole story, and this can be demonstrated by looking at the works of earlier photographers who themselves have been able to create provocative and emotive images without the use of photoshop. A fantastic example is the work of Irving Penn, who managed to create unsettling images based upon claustrophic arrangements and powerful compositions:

Irving Penn uses strong comosition in this portrait

Penn was famous for using portable paneling to create these uncomfortable corners in which he would pose his subjects.

I really enjoy exploring what emotional response that can be derived from a photo and to this extent the desire to solicit some form of reaction from the image was my main objective. Utilising a strong composition and carefuly posed subject, I wanted to create a photo that maintained emotional undertones, with the photio being altered in photoshop to maximise this effect.

Whilst the post processing in the finished photo was extensive, it did not involve any technical secrets, simply the very slow and methodical application of effects over many layers in order to create a ‘hyperreal’ image.

I intend to  circulate my photo to friends on facebook for comment and have them document their thoughts on the blog. It will be interesting to see what people think:

A nice big version can be viewed HERE

Anyway, its getting late so I’m afraid that’s it for this week. Fingers crossed I’ll get some interesting feedback on the above photo which i’ll share with you all on the blog.

Until next time!


~ by imagespike on January 12, 2010.

One Response to “Emotive Portrait Photography”

  1. hey…. fantastic.

    How did you do it?

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