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Face the music

dudler

Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Face the music

14 Jan 2021 2:54AM   Views : 232 Unique : 154

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Whenever someone shows appreciation of your work, anywhere on the web, it’s at least tempting to have a look at what they do. Sometimes, it feels as if it would be rude not to, particularly on model-photographer networking sites.

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And with more time on our hands (apart from those of us who are key workers), there are more comments, more portfolios to look at. And it’s brought home to me that some people’s portrait style can be unflattering – or even downright dodgy. I’ve noticed two things that really upset me, which is embarrassing when they’ve liked my work.

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Skin softening. A bit of work is kind: removing spots and transient blemishes is entirely good, and kind. But turning every model into a Barbie is spooky, looks wrong. Is it actually disrespectful? I’ve had this preoccupation for a long, long time, and I've blogged about it before.

But today I’ve added a second stylistic issue (not on this website). Portraits where the subject is full-face, straight on to camera, frontally lit. Classic Instamatic portraiture…

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Now, it’s possible to have immensely powerful flat-on portraits. The first to come to mind is Arnold Newman’s portrait of Alfred Krupp: sinister and powerful, an indictment on film. The piercing, cold eyes of Vladimir Putin in Platon’s direct portrait. And sometimes, an exceptionally beautiful model (preferably with wonderful irises) will make a shot like this work. But as a standard, not-really-bothered approach? Sorry, no. And particularly no when it’s a frame-filling head.

So here’s my suggestion – if you go full frontal, break it up a bit, with light or composition – it doesn’t need to be very different to make for a very different look – as I hope my pictures here show…

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Comments


dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1778 England
14 Jan 2021 3:15AM
Models, from the top: Ana Frodisiac, Vampire Princess, Miki Nightshade, Nee Naaa and TheCrimsonWhite.
bluesandtwos 11 466 1 England
14 Jan 2021 8:50AM
Nothing to do with anything really, but I love some of the models working names! As for Nee Naaa she just has to be ex Fire Service with a name like that!Grin

Dave
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1778 England
14 Jan 2021 10:45AM
You may say that, Dave, but I couldn't possibly comment on Nee Naaa's reasons for the name.

I will say she's got an active interest in urbex pictures, and some of her images may mean people have to lie down with a cold compress to the brow.
14 Jan 2021 10:46AM
I agree entirely about the tendency to over edit images, in all kinds of ways. I certainly went though a phase a few years ago where my style of editing wasn't complimentary (albeit my images tend to have people in them rather than being primarily portraits). But regarding disrespectful editing, now Anthropics sell PortraitPro Body people should be even more careful. It reminds me of a couple of models who were in a relationship who did a shoot with a fairly well-known photographer. One model was size 6 the other size 12 and they asked him for a print of their favourite image as a keepsake. Unfortunately the photographer made both models look a size 8. The larger model was still telling people people about it months later!

As regards not doing square-on portraits, a very successful professional photographer gave me this advice when I was starting out. He said to take photos of how people pose naturally, for example to imagine that you're standing at the bar in a pub and chatting to the person next to you. Your shoulders are angled towards eachother, and faces are seldom seem square on. I think too that's why I've never been able to take good photos of people that I care about. As you tend to spend much of your time at close quarters with your nearest and dearest, whereas portraits tend to be shot from a distance. So the relative facial proportions in the photos can often look wrong.
bluesandtwos 11 466 1 England
14 Jan 2021 10:56AM

Quote:
I will say she's got an active interest in urbex pictures, and some of her images may mean people have to lie down with a cold compress to the brow.



Now I am intrigued! Smile Does she take urbex images, or model in an urbex environment? More to the point is there any way I can view them?
mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
15 Jan 2021 10:07AM
"I’ve noticed two things that really upset me, which is embarrassing when they’ve liked my work."
Perhaps some advice from the Critique team would help. Before I started working with models I liked lots of other peoples work, including yours.
I liked them because thy were good and because they were much better than anything I could do. I still have lots to learn but helpful, constructive criticism,
good advice and tuition and lots of practice has made a difference. It shouldn't be embarrassing when someone likes your work. Especially if they can, or want to, learn
from it.
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1778 England
15 Jan 2021 11:21AM
Dave (bluesandtwos), you can find her in my portfolio, both along and with one or two friends. It complicates matters that she's changed her modelling name a few times, though! Beware, though - most of her images are nudes. She has described herself as 'naturally naked'...

Dave (mistere), the problem came to mind when I looked at a portfolio with hundreds of similar images in it. Different models, but the same picture. I wonder if the chap does passports for a living?
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1778 England
15 Jan 2021 11:25AM
And I found one that isn't, from a sortie with my friend Stewart a couple or three years ago:

https://www.ephotozine.com/user/dudler-11864/gallery/photo/beam-me-up--zarg--my-work-here-is-complete--51851051
bluesandtwos 11 466 1 England
15 Jan 2021 11:58AM

Quote:Dave (bluesandtwos), you can find her in my portfolio, both along and with one or two friends. It complicates matters that she's changed her modelling name a few times, though! Beware, though - most of her images are nudes. She has described herself as 'naturally naked'...


I'm more than happy with naked, fully clothed or anything in between! Smile

Dave
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1778 England
15 Jan 2021 6:16PM
Dave - I know you are, and so am I. However, blogs are available to junior members, non-members and members who don't want to see over-18 material, so I need to avoid putting in links to stuff that is (as they say) NSFW.

And Nee Naaa takes pictures as well as modelling: indeed, she lent me her Canon for an article I did a while back - HERE - and I'm deeply embarrassed to say that I killed it.

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