Wednesday, March 10, 2010

photographing the essence

A friend recently asked me to photograph someone and an appointment was arranged.

We went together to meet the lady at her house where she was staying with her mother. Her name is Shobana which means beauty and as she showed some old photographs of her self, it was clear that she was once beautiful and perhaps still is.

My friend seemed in a hurry to get the session over with. I was however feeling tired and was invited to lie down on a bed next door for awhile then given tea. After this, we had the photographic session but it did not go well. My friend did not help by telling Shobana where she should be looking and it was not until too late that I realised this was preventing the sitter from relaxing.

It is suggested that the photographer should be in control of the situation and while I agree to this to a certain extent, it seems that what needs to happen is for the photographer to allow the sitter to be relaxed enough to reveal a little of themselves.

After this session, I felt I had missed the subject. It would be too easy to blame my friend for orchestrating the occasion yet it had not been possible for me to find the essence of the subject through the lens and so the portrait session did not live up to expectations.

It was for me, a learning experience.

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