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  1. #31
    blansky's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if the past reigning crop of top actors, Paul Newman, De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Pacino, Streep et all, were Stravinsky or Lee Strasberg or somone else but they came from the "method" school of acting. Meaning they "inhabited" the character and were always searching for the "motivation" in their character to slip under his/her skin.

    One classic line during Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman and Sir Laurence Olivier was that Hoffman was ruining take after take trying to get his "motivation" and Olivier walked up to him and dryly stated "try acting, dear boy".


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by arigram View Post
    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.
    Ari- yes the hassy is slower than 35mm or digicrap. However, when you have to shoot an 8x10 all by your lonesome, all of a sudden that Hassy is a snapshot point-n-shoot.

  3. #33

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    thanks jonathon

    one thing i have tried to do almost to excess is to shoot at the slowest shutter speed my subject can hold a pose ... even with props, clothes and expressions, and a headful of ideas from olde portraits, sometimes it is the long shutter speeds work well to help the subject exude who they might be, then again, maybe they are just bored? i worked on restoring a bunch of old family photos, maybe the latest being in the 19teens, and there was something about them, even the simplest poses and lighting that made the subject breathe-life.
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  4. #34
    Struan Gray's Avatar
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    I am not really a portraitist, but one thing not yet mentioned that I find useful is to look at rough drawings, caricatures and sketches. The funnies in your local newspaper is a good cheap place to start - or the Disney Channel. I have always been fascinated by the way that even very sparse drawings can convey mass, form and character. Studying them is a good way to tease out what is important, and what is mere infill.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker View Post
    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.

    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.
    Stanislavsky is talked about more than read, according to my wife who has two degrees in theatre (USC and CSULB). The current version of the Method is re-interpretations of Lee Strasberg's re-interpretations of Stanislavsky. There has been considerable drift from the original, much of it due to those who make excessive claims for Strasberg and neglect Stanislavsky. Hell, bo' that there Stan-boy weren't nothin' but a dirty commie..

    Stanislavsky also talks about other acting traditions, contrasting formalism (normal in most acting in most cultures) and injecting personal feeling/emotional memory into a part. It is not unrealistic to say that even when Stanislavsky founded the Moscow Arts Theatre, the general standard of acting was still the Shakespearian acTOR (note stress), Speaking From The Diaphragm.

    There are many plays and parts where Stanislavsky's approach is of limited or no use but there are also lamentably many parts where both formalism and imperfectly understood 'Method' acting are used as a refuge by bad actors.

    Cheers,

    Roger

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    There are many plays and parts where Stanislavsky's approach is of limited or no use but there are also lamentably many parts where both formalism and imperfectly understood 'Method' acting are used as a refuge by bad actors.
    I believe so, too. I was reading a book that had an interview piece on Ingmar Bergman on his own theater work, and he called Stanislavsky method, "masturbation."

    But anyway that led me to think about the directing aspect for the kind of portraiture that's been discussed here. I wonder how much of a direction or a guidline that a photographer needs to prepare for his/her model(s)/trained actor(s)/actress(es). I mean, obviously for theater and film, there's a story given by a script, which rules out certain things including the posing/movement. So, from there, maybe improvisation can be done, but the there still is the foundation of the story.

    But for still photography, there usually isn't, right? Do many photographers in this genre(studio portraiture) provide much materials (scripts, reading materials, props, wardrobe, etc) to their models in general? I'm not talking about themes. The thing is, actors are very vulnerable and usually cannot do anything by themselves unless they are given something like a direction or story line to start off. It's probably harder when you have only one actor in front of the camera, and you as a photographer has very little experience in directing, and if you two have to communicate eac other with not much in common. If so, nothing can get started so easily.

    I'm just throwing general ideas here, so please ignore my comment if you find it not so relevant.

  7. #37
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    I spend all my time photographing "ordinary" people these days but when I lived in LA I photographed a lot of actors and wannabees.

    Sometimes you needed to bitch slap them to try to get them to quit "acting". It was like dealing with over indulged precocious children.

    I believe the trick to photographing people is just talking to them about stuff and tell them what you're doing and making them feel like a part of the process. Then if you are after a "look" just tell them what you are trying and get them to join in.

    When photographing kids I just chatter away at them, and ask them stuff and watch for reactions. Kids have the best reactions.

    Of course if that doesn't work, I hit them with a stick.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

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