Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Studio Portrait Research - Irving Penn

I've noticed when looking at Irving Penn's work, that when capturing portraits the sitters always has their hand to their face. It's not just the face Penn has focussed on, but also the hands. Most of the photograph I have looked at and been inspired to create my own version were mainly from shoots for Vogue and were monochrome.

The photograph of the lady with the hat and cigarette shows the personality of the sitter. The shot holds glamour to it as the sitter is wearing make up, a large pear earing, painted nails and large hat. I also wonder whether the photographer asked her to touch her nail with her tongue, or it was something the sitter had a habit of doing.

The backdrop was white and I assume that there is lighting shining on the backdrop. I also think that there was a light behind the model, hence the illumines effect on the sitters shoulder. There is also lighting shining on the sitter, mainly coming from the right side allowing a shadow effect on the left side of the model.
Another aspect I have picked up on when looking at Penn's work, is the angles. The angle of the sitter in this photograph is similar to the sitter in the previous. The photographer has captured the side profile of the models, both with their hands raised to their face. The side profiles are both with the sitter facing to their left showing off the right side of their face. The photographs have inspired me to also capture photographs from a side profile and I also want to change the colour to a monochrome effect rather than keep the photograph in colour.

The photograph below of Nadja Auermann was one of my favourites. Though this was a photo shoot for Vogue, (normally based on glamour and fashion) the model appears to look natural, you can see the freckles on her skin and also her hair was messy. Her clothing is plain and isn't accentuated, only her face, hair and hand seem to be the main focus in Penn's photograph. The lighting looks as though there were two lights used, one on the back drop, the other lighting shines directly onto her face. The monochrome black and white effect used in this photograph was successful and has inspired me to capture photographs like this.
Nadja Auermann by Irving Penn, Vogue July 1994.

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