Representation Through Portraiture

For my third task of this module, I am required to create a photographic portrait series to represent one person (it can be myself) in 4 images, two portraits and two objects. My interpretation of this brief can be as broad as I like but the images need to cohesively fit together and should collectively increase the audience knowledge and/or understanding of the person represented.

I am required to approach this brief as if it is a competition entrée for the Taylor Wessing portrait competition entry. Because I have never heard of this competition, I will have to research it and the work of the winners, and consider how my work fits within a national exhibition space.

After being set the brief, I began to come up with a range of ideas that I could do for this project (as seen below). This project is due in in a week and so I do not have enough time to explore multiple ideas, instead I will spend my time building on and improving on my initial starting point.


  • Silhouettes of the person and objects, focusing on their body shape and outline. This will give slight clues on their life and how they look, however their identity will remain a mystery. Could take the photos from the side, more traditional portraits that used to be used.
  • By interviewing a person, I would get to know them and then I could draw on what they are like to influence my photographs.
  • Comparison of portraits- young and old.
  • Taking the photograph in a mirror, looking at the reflection- how they view themselves.
  • Make up and no make up- the truthful and fake portrait- celeb culture and how the media influence people’s looks.
  • People asleep- everyone sleeps, when photographed they will look natural, they are unaware of the camera, just a normal person. Then another shot of where they are aware of the camera, showing how they want to present themselves and change in front of the camera. Using the two portraits as comparisons between the natural and staged photographs.
  • Natural portraits of people then take photographs of their ID’s to show the serious portraits and do they show a person’s identity in the ID.

I think I have a couple of strong ideas here, but I want to focus on the idea of having a sleeping portrait and having a staged studio one. I want to look at how people present themselves to the camera; when people are asleep they are unaware of the camera and so that photographs will be natural, whereas when people are aware of the camera, such as a studio shoot, the will act differently, with different poses and facial expressions. To combine with these two portrait photographs, for my object photographs, I want to find an object that is personal to the person I photograph. I will take two photographs of the object echoing the lighting and idea of the portraits; I will take a photograph at night again of the object at home, where it lives in the house and its ‘natural home’, the second photograph will be staged and set up in the studio with bright lights, highlighting the products and making the photograph seem more staged and commercial. I am really pleased with this idea and will develop it further by taking influence from photographers work; I will also select my person and interview them, finding out a bit about them, giving me ideas on what objects could be used.

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 12.29.59


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