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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryl Jacobs View Post
    In order for the sitter to portray it, the sitter has to feel it.
    - CJ
    Not to the extent that the subject is an actor, at least an actor of the non-method kind.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    Not to the extent that the subject is an actor, at least an actor of the non-method kind.
    Most actors find a way to get into their role in some way or another. If the sitter doesn't happen to be an actor by trade, he or she will almost certainly be more convincing if he/she can feel what the photographer is after.

  3. #23
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    Great thread. Thank you all for your contributions.
    The reason I asked is that all my learning in photography comes from either the internet, books or experience and since I severly lack the third and will need a long time to aquire it, I focus on the other two.
    I pre-visualise my studio shoots, writting down details and drawning storyboards and frames but I also let the subject and myself be as spontaneous as possible, having a constant conversation between us, both actual and creative. Most often, I let the model do all the modelling with little or not at all any direction from me.
    What I am trying to learn are the messages and details that people send visually with their poses, not necessary to direct but to recognise them.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  4. #24
    wfe
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    I would like to thank Ari for posting this question and all who have responded. A really helpfull thread!!!

    Cheers,
    Bill
    ~Bill
    "Real Art is a Thin Breath Exhaled Amidst a Struggle in the Mind"
    Fine Art and Portraits

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Brewer View Post
    And bottomline, the greatest ability I think a portrait photographer should have, and you've got to learn this, if you can't do it naturally, is the ability to make a complete stranger laugh for at least 30 seconds straight, 5 minutes after you've met them, if you can do this, you're going to be good at portrait photographer, people relaxed and trusting you is as important as anthing you do in taking their picture.
    I'm not in anyway any kind of a portrait photographer, but I agree a good laughter is always a help. I've lived and traveled in foreign countries and cultures and subcultures (which I hate to use the term, but I mean, "colors") with my camera so long that having a little conversation with a joke is always a good start before deciding to snap photos of people I meet.

    The verbal language that you speak matters significantly, too, even before getting into the body language or other communicative signs. So, you kind of have to work on the tone of your voice that represents you a good trusty person/photographer. You have to sense where your subjects are coming from first, and then hit off with a joke or whatever that communicates.

    Sometimes, you as a photographer have to look serious, or sometimes you have to look like a complete fool. You are the one who needs to be an actor in order to make your subject/model feel comfortable enough to start doing his or her own thing whether it's a real personality or persona that you request.

  6. #26
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    I've found that in some ways, the camera itself helps. Shooting mostly large format, toting around the big monster acts as an icebreaker. You can get the sitter relaxed by talking about the camera itself, how it works, what you do with it, and then getting in front of it yourself to let them see what you see. Often that's a big help, because once they see what you're seeing on the groundglass, it gets them thinking, and gives them a new respect for the work you're doing. I don't think this applies so much with smaller format cameras, since even medium format viewfinders project a right-side up image and they also "feel" familiar. Large format also has compromises, of course, but I think in the end they're worth it as they help engage the model in the creative process.

    This is not to slight medium format or 35mm in the least- some terrific portrait work has been done and continues to be done in those formats. I think that they lend themselves to a more fast-paced and less interactive way of working. I'd be much more likely to pick up the Hassy if I were shooting a fashion shoot or an editorial project than I would for a portrait session, or for a nude project.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Try Konstantin Stanislavsky's books on acting: 'An Actor Prepares' is the one I remember most. They give you a tremendous set of tools, and vocabulary, for analyzing what you see. Also Charles Darwin's 'The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals' -- old but unparalleled.

    Cheers,

    R.
    That book as well as the one called "(On?) Acting" are the classics among theater and motion-picture actors. I used to take photos of a theater group for a while in the U.S., and my actor friends told me about the book(s).

    Also, Stanislavsky's method was (or still is) often talked about by well-known actors who appear in the TV show called, "Actor's Studio" produced by New School in NYC.

    http://www.bravotv.com/Inside_the_Ac...io/index.shtml
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actors_Studio

    This TV show gets aired in Japan for some reason in awfully late night hours, so sometimes I watch it even now. It's very comprehensive if you listen to the actors talking about how they use their skills in the films they have appeared and what training they have formally had before in order to play what they play. If you can watch the show, you will probably find some of the things you're looking for.

    However, in the non-western cultures like Japanese, I heard Stanislavsky's method is not nearly as popularly used (or not used at all in many cases in the Japanese popular cultures) as the wetstern cultures with a long history of teaching drama, so be aware that the western acting style works only within the context of the western cultures.

    I hope this helps.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    This is not to slight medium format or 35mm in the least- some terrific portrait work has been done and continues to be done in those formats. I think that they lend themselves to a more fast-paced and less interactive way of working. I'd be much more likely to pick up the Hassy if I were shooting a fashion shoot or an editorial project than I would for a portrait session, or for a nude project.
    Au contraire mon amie, I find shooting the Hasselblad quite slower compared to 35mm and digital and I need to talk with my model and keep them engaged constantly. After all, I lack an assistant and focusing, metering and loading the film backs takes time, especially because people are not used to film anymore and 12 frames seem to go by in a flash.

    I find that anything other than your typical Nikon and Canon DSLR will attract interest.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  9. #29

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    Youtube rocks!

    http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...tor%27s+studio

    If you watch the clips, pay attention to how these actors/actresses do their posing/movements, etc on screen in order to accomplish what they want to accomplish.

  10. #30

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    Ari, it's funny that you just finished reading a book on body language, I recently suggested that to someone in the gallery. Reading that book is like a Cliff Notes version (Cliff Notes being a summarized version of a book). It's a good start but does not give you much depth. As you are looking how to direct a subject in a staged environment and not capture them in a real moment, then you really need to become very familiar with the way people use their bodies to express themselves.

    Besides reading about body language, the best, but slowest way to learn about it is by watching people. Find a comfortable place where you can sit for hours and just watch people as they go by, as they converse, as they sit, etc.

    Another good tip is to work with some very experienced models, and I don't mean fashion models I mean what we would call here in NYC "commercial models". Commercial models are most often actors and actresses who appear in ads and commercials. Many of them have serious acting training and have studied how to use their bodies to express themselves without words. Many of them look like "real people" and not like models. You can ask them to show a certain emotion, or even better ask them to imagine they're in a certain situation in life and watch how their bodies and faces will change to reflect their imaginary circumstances. However make certain that you use models that have real acting training and many years of experience.

    Another thing is to study the work of artists who have done very compelling portrait work, or better still environmental portrait work, and the work of photographers who have captured real life spontaneous scenes. HCB, Doisneau and Kertesz had great photographs of real people in real moments.

    Be aware though that this is a very long and slow process and is totally dependant on your own observational skills.

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