Kirk Tuck on his portraiture phtography
I was introduced to Kirk Tuck by @_joyjoy and got hooked up on his blog entries.
The dude is a good writer and makes it all the more easy for readers of any level to read.
One particular entry caught my attention and that was his approach towards portraiture photography.
Definitely worth a read if you have five to ten minutes to spare.
Notable quotes from his post
“I’ve watched photographers show off their public shooting face at tons of expos and seminars but I think the way they handle portrait sittings with an audience is largely a fictional parody of what happens when you get right down to the way most real shoots work. I can’t imagine doing the kind of work I do with an audience. I can barely stand to have an assistant in the room, much less gawkers.”
“I remember reading an article by writer, Lionel Tiger, in which he described a portrait sitting he had with photographer, Irving Penn. He said that once the “giant wall” of lights was set and illuminated all the people in Penn’s studio left the shooting studio and the rest of the sitting was done in strict privacy. He and Penn talked about novels, writing, art, world history and so much more. The sitting lasted a long time and, only after a sort of sleepiness overcame Lionel, and he had exhausted all of his usual social defenses and started becoming quiet he finally dropped his defenses and stopped self-consciously posing. That was when Penn started shooting and quietly suggesting small movements and little modifications. Tiger said that when he asked Penn his secret for shooting great portraits the reply was that Penn “waited until a kind of drowsiness arrived.” Then he knew he’d be photographing a more sincere portrait of the real person.”
“My biggest issue is that the fiction of TV fiction fashion sessions where a “photographer” works with a “model” always shows the set in a constant state of movement and kinetic chaos. The TV models move from pose to pose to pose every time the flash goes off (probably another good reason to use constant lights). But that’s antithetical to what I want as a portrait photographer. I want to work up to the right look, hold on to it for a while. Perfect it and capture small nuances before going off in another direction. I may be looking for just the slightest tilt of a person’s head. The barest parting of lips. The kindest look in the eyes. And so my biggest job is to slow people down. To change their expectations about the process.”
Do visit his blog entry for more.
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