2 Portraits- Influences

I have decided to look into a range of different influences for when it comes to capturing my portrait photographs of my two subjects.

Body Part photography; I looked at the website http://www.pxleyes.com/blog/2011/11/the-art-of-photographing-human-body-parts-in-close-up/ and their photography blog post, The Art of Photographing Human Body Parts in Close-Up. The post talked about how photographic portraits are meant to emphasise a person’s face features, to give an overview of how they look and “freeze” their appearance; they are a true representation of a person, showing their details and features. The post goes on to say how close-up portraits can be magnificent, where the photographer focuses on one particular body part, showing it in greater detail than would be seen if it were a whole face portrait.


Reiner Albrecht


Unknown Autor

The post went on to say how close-up portraits can imply which sex they belong to, the age of the owner, social condition, mood, desires and a lot of other things. However I want to challenge this idea as with fingerprints, do they give clues about a person? Fingerprints are all unique and different, each person has their own set and identifying a person by merely looking at the prints can be hard, unless you use technology like they do in CSI investigations. To the eye, looking at two fingerprints it would be pure guess work as to matching them with their owner, fingerprints are someone’s biological identity and classification by looking visually at them is a lot harder without advanced technology. The idea that by looking at two sets of fingerprints someone would not be able to tell who’s are who’s really interests me; for this project I will photograph both a stranger and someone I know, however when looking back at their fingerprints it would be impossible for me to tell which set of prints belong to which person. It won’t matter if I know a person or not, they will look similar, showing the idea that deep down biologically we are all very similar, but have some unique features that make us individual with our own identities.

For my photographs, I want to take influence from this idea of close-up portraits and focus solely on the fingerprints of people as my portrait photographs. There are a different ways in which I could take photographs of the fingerprints, one way would be using a macro lens and focusing on solely the pads of fingers where the fingerprints are. I feel that photographing a body part would be a greater portrait of a person as it shows their biological identity in greater detail.

I took influence from Steve Pyke, and his series Post Mortem. In this series Pyke photographed instruments used at birth and ones to carry out autopsy. The photographs show the tools used both to bring life into the world and ones at the end of the life cycle, in clear detail, giving the viewer a true presentation of these tools. Like some of his other work in his Still Life portfolio, his framing is very simple and striking, with a plain background so the viewer has a clear view of the object and can see the detail of each.


Steve Pyke- Post Mortem


Steve Pyke- Soles #1

For my own work, I want centred framing for my fingerprints, I think it would be best; not only does having the fingerprint centred show that it is the main focus, but it also allows the viewer to see the detail of it as clearly as possible. The viewer can spend time studying the fingerprint looking at the textures and shape, showing how each print is unique and individual to each person. As I am only doing two fingerprints for my portraits, having them next to each other would allow greater comparison between the two showing the differences an each person’s individual biological identity.

I looked at the work of Paul Smith and his series, Impact. Similar to Steve Pyke’s work, Smith uses a centre framed photograph to show a set of photographic images of bullet shrapnel that have been derived from criminal activity. His series confronts the audience with the direct results of gun crime, by directly and clearly showing the bullets in clear detail. The viewer can see the detail of each bullet and how different impacts have affected the shape and texture of it.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 16.09.57

Paul Smith- Impact

Even though my subject for my photographs is different, like Smith and Pyke I will use this centred framing to highlight the detail of each person’s fingerprints to the viewer, showing their biological identity and how each person is different.

My final idea is taking influence from real life CSIs and using prints to show someone’s fingerprint; instead of photographing someone’s fingers using a macro lens, I could use ink to print the fingerprints onto paper. By doing this, not only will the viewer be able to see the shape and detail of each print clearer, but it will also link into the idea of real life processes of categorisation of people using fingerprints as a form of biological identity, and show how each print is unique and individual to a person.



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