Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Studio Portrait Research - Nadar

When looking for vintage/old photographs to inspire me, I came across Gaspard-Felix Tournachon, also know as Nadar and his portraiture work. The sepia tones in the photographs were of interest to me and I want to experiment with some of my photographs in Capture One to edit them to have a vintage vibe through monochrome tones.

"In photography, like in all things, there are people who can see and others who cannot even look."  - Nadar

Sarah Bernhardt by Félix Nadar, 1865
Félix Nadar: Sarah Bernhardt, 1860
In this photograph of Sarah Bernhardt, I like the fact that she isn't looking straight into the camera lens. In most of the photographs of Bernhardt captured by Nadar, she is mainly looking to the left. The photographs look simple, but effective as the sitter isn't really doing much but look lost in thought. Also the sitter isn't dressed up for the photo shoot, and is only wearing what seems to be a large blanket. The photographer maybe only wanted to show off her face leaving the rest to the viewers imagination.

I'm inspired by these photographs and how the photographer has used simple techniques to capture the photographs. The lighting mainly comes from where the sitter is looking at, this could signify that she is drawn to the light, this is one of the techniques I'm going to do. I will ask the sitter in my photographs to look in the direction of the light and dress them with a blanket, hiding anything that will pose as a fashion statement.

Félix Nadar Retrato De Mme Victor Tournachon

This is another photograph I was drawn to of Nadar's, firstly because of the monochrome effect, but also how  the photographer has yet again focussed on the face and hands. The sitter in the photograph isn't looking into the lens, but is looking away, also away from the light. Again, Nadar has used a large blanket to hide what the sitter is wearing drawing attention to the sitters face. I like that in this photograph that a prop has been used, what seems to be flowers that the sitter is holding and kissing.

Cleo de Merode by Felix Nadar
This was one of the photographs that I found were different to the rest of Nadar's photographs. The sitter is facing the camera but is looking slightly upwards and is accentuated with jewellery. I like that half of the background is black and the other half is white, this could signify the sitters personality to having a dark side and an angelic side.

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