Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Studio Portrait Research - Edward Steichen

Looking at Edward Jean Steichen's (1879 – 1973) photography has been one of the photographers I am mainly inspired by, along with David Bailey. Steichen's photographs of female portraits, hold simplicity, but also interest. The tones of monochrome black and white work well in the photographs. I would like to try and recreate some of Steichen's photographs using a black blanket  and chair as a prop. The chair could be hidden under the blanket with the model sitting down, inspired by Steichen's work.

“He is not satisfied showing us how a person looks, but how he thinks a person should look.” - Critic on Steichen's work.

A blog I found through my research Edward Steichen – Hollywood Portraits allowed me to find out more information about the photographer. As well as finding out the background to the photographer, I also looked at a narrative of a selection of work by Steichen.

The photograph below of Gloria Swanson 1924, created interest to me with the use of fabric between the sitters face and the camera. I have been inspired by this piece by Steichen and would like to try and recreate an inspired look. I have already experimented in the studio with the sitter and fabric, but I need to use a more sheer fabric to enable me to capture the portrait within the shot.

Gloria Swanson, 1924
Edward Steichen - In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years.

The photograph of Greta Garbo 1928, was another of Steichen's photographs I was interested in. The photograph isn't one of my favourites, but I like the way the photographer has drawn away from everything else and only focussed on the sitters hands and face. The clothing was plain, I assume to draw the viewers attention away from the fashion and just on the face. I have been inspired by this photograph and will use plain clothing, this will be to only focus on the sitters face. The lighting is mainly aimed behind the sitter and onto the backdrop, partly casting onto the sitters face.

Edward Steichen - Greta Garbo, 1928.

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