Workshop #4: The People in Our Homes

EXERCISE:

Photograph another person in your home, using your phone or a camera. 

1) Think of 1-3 qualities that you would characterize this person by. Take a portrait (or several) of this person that embodies this quality/these qualities. 

2) Now ask your subject what qualities they would define him or herself by. Take a portrait of this person that embodies these qualities. 

If you can and want to photograph more than one person together, think about the individual qualities of the subjects as well as the relationship between the two (e.g. what is the nature of this relationship between siblings, parent/child, partner, friend, etc.?).

If you do not live with anyone or do not feel comfortable photographing another person in your home and/or simply want to take on another challenge, try this exercise with self portraiture! In the first part, think about or ask a friend/family member about the qualities that they would describe you by and in the second part, think about how you would define yourself. 

Some tips:

Think about what the portrait says about this person? How does visual context and your choice of framing in the space of your home/where you are currently living create different meanings and stories to tell? Is there a special relationship to the space you are photographing them in — perhaps a piece of furniture, an angle of a room, or in relation to an activity at this time, cooking in the kitchen, a workspace, a sofa where conversations happen? How does the photograph make you and the subject feel?

REMEMBER! A portrait does NOT have to be of a face (or a face only). A portrait works towards capturing and embodying the “essence” of a person. Do their hands tell a story? What does their pose (frontal, profile, back to the camera, sitting, standing, jumping, etc.) say about them? Are they sitting still or in movement? Is the photo in black and white? Are they looking at or away from the camera? Why? 

To get you thinking outside the box: 

https://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/photographer-louis-de-belles-unconventional-take-on-the-commute-260417

https://www.bjp-online.com/2020/04/la-cucaracha-pieter-hugo/ (one of my favorite photographers!) 

https://www.lomography.com/magazine/331544-joseph-barrett-finding-the-essence-of-man-in-portraiture

Photographs (below) by Molly Spink

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