AD5803 Sustainable Communities | Research | Portraits 3

Brian Smith

Brian Smith – Art & Soul

“‘ART & SOUL: STARS UNITE TO CELEBRATE AND SUPPORT THE ARTS’ This book is a wonderful way to support the arts. A generous portion of the proceeds from the book will go to advocate funding of the Arts and Arts Education through The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating its members on issues of public importance.”

This project is very different to the others I have looked at so far for a few reasons. Firstly, it includes celebrities as it’s subjects. As well as this, they are studio portraits, and there is accompanying text with each shot.

Image result for brian smith art and soul



Image result for brian smith art and soul

This is my favourite of the 3 I’ve shown here, and I think it’s because it’s the closest and most intimate. Although I have mentioned that I like interesting textured backgrounds, I think that in these shots, the plain background really draws attention to the subjects, and simplifies the portraits. It is also likely that the backgrounds are plain because it is a studio set up.

Image result for brian smith art and soul

A common theme between all of these shots is the use of direct eye contact to the camera. I think this would be easier as the subjects are used to the camera and interacting with people. However, I will likely have some people that won’t want to have their portraits taken as obviously as this. I have already spoken about ways to combat this potential issue. For this particular shot, I like the crop of the portrait. It’s a flattering shot as it doesn’t leave any awkward ‘cut off’s’ such as cropping out the hands etc. I also like that his pendant is still fully visable, and that the end of the opening on his blazer marks the crop on the photo. These are things that I need to consider when constructing my portraits.

Jon Tonks

Jon Tonks

Jon Tonks is a British Photographer who documents life through different projects. I have chosen to look at him, as I particularly like his portraiture.

Jon Tonks Overview:

I love the use of natural window light in this shot. I think that the likelihood is that I will be relying on window light for the better portraits within this series, as the soft light reflects the delicate nature of the subject. Therefore, I am researching portraits shot using primarily natural of soft lighting so I have more inspiration when it comes to shooting my own project.  I also like the direct address to the camera in this, and the serious expression on the subjects face. Although, I hope to capture my subjects at their most comfortable, and as my project is about sustainable communities, and I a also working for ArtShape to show the good work they do, I think it is more important that I capture ‘moments’ and smiles.

Jon Tonks Overview: Be Prepared, St Helena Day 2013

I love the full length format of this shot, as well as the use of lines behind the subject. I think that combined with 2 subjects, the symmetry within the image makes it satisfying to look at.

Jon Tonks Overview: Reverend Canon Clive Duncan, St Mary’s Vicarage, Georgetown

My assumption on this image is that it was shot using natural lighting from a window/door in front of the subject. But it may have also been shot using a large soft box to give a similar effect. I don’t intend on taking a soft box or any other equipment with me, as I want the photographs to be as natural and informal as possible. I think the key thing for me to achieve this is to take minimal equipment for the benefit of the subjects too. I don’t want them to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by too much equipment.

Jon Tonks Overview: Image © Jon Tonks 2017

I first saw this picture at the National Portrait Gallery Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, and I love it. Although it’s not relevant to the kind of images I intend on shooting for my sustainability brief, I think that the composition and framing of the shot is something to be admired, and it absolutely inspires me and indicates the kind of photography I’d like to produce in the future.

Having looked at these portraits (especially some of the full length portraits), this research may also be fitting for my other project for the ‘Unsustainability’ Brief, as I am making a series of street portraits.

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