Monday, October 11, 2010

Mid-Semester Project Update

Studied Portrature

This semester in PHO 209 my goal is to study the work of accomplished portrait artists and try to emulate their styles in order to take my own work to another level. This has been so much harder than I ever imagined. A portrait looks so easy to do but it is not. After attempting to duplicate the work of several artists, I am developing a whole new appreciation for those who can capture light, character, posture, a sense of time and place, etc. in their portraiture. I must admit that I have failed to produce the quality of most of the artists I have tried to study so far this semester.

One of my favorite artists is Edward Hopper. His work looks almost like a photograph to me although he worked with oils, watercolors and etchings. According to Wikiipedia, "Most of Hopper's figure paintings focus on the subtle interaction of human beings with their environment—carried out with solo figures, couples, or groups. His primary emotional themes are solitude, loneliness, regret, boredom, and resignation. He expresses the emotions in various environments, including the office, in public places, in apartments, on the road, or on vacation.[ As if he were creating stills for a movie or tableaux in a play, Hopper positioned his characters as if they were captured just before or just after the climax of a scene." (

With the photograph of Ambria, I tried to capture the sense of lonliness.

Blossom VFD Hamburger Stand
Another image I tried to do like that of Edward Hopper is the Blossom VFD Hamburger Stand. I have written grants for the Blossom Volunteer Fire Department off and on for the past 16 years. A couple of weeks ago there was a street dance in Blossom and a few of the guys were manning the stand. I wish I would have taken a lot more exposures of this scene but people were constantly moving about and it was hard to isolate the people for a composition.

The portrait of Gary was done with the idea of Yousuf Karsh. Karsh's portraits are simple, utilize available light and have little to no props. Some of his most famous portraits include Sir Winston Churchill, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Albert Einstein. The images are all in black and white.

Nudes in Modulated Light.
There is a book on my shelf simply titled, Herve Leger. The book is of Herve Leger's designs photographed by Francis Giacobetti. The images are all modulated light using zebra stripes. I tried everything I knew to get the stripe patterns across the nude model. I never achieved the lighting. So, I attempted to use everything else I could find at my office to modulate the light on the model.

Another book on my shelf is of the photographical work of Lewis Carroll. Carroll photographed children from May 1856 to July 1880. My only knowledge of Lewis Carroll was of him as an author of Alice in Wonderland which was published in 1865. Portraiture was Carroll's main field of interest and specifically little girls. The pictures of Elizabeth are my take on Carroll's portrait of Agnes Florence Price, the daughter of one of his contemporaries.

Andrew Eccles, who was Annie Leibovitz's assistant, has a unique portrait style. His portrait of James Thomas influenced me to take this picture of Stephen. The portrait of him is in his own environment and lit with only one light source. I think I might need to reshoot this picture of Stephen with a softer light coming from the closet. I think the image works better as a black and white just like Eccle's picture of Thomas.

The image of Carrissa is my attempt to imitate Patrick Fraser. Specifically, I tried to capture the essence of his photograph of Penny, Wyoming Rancher. His portraits have been termed 'classic with a twist'. My image does not have the fine details that Fraser's work captures.

Art Streiber.
I failed miserably at trying to do a picture like Art Streiber. They are so bad that I am not even going to share the final images. The picture I tried to do was like Streiber's photograph of Nicole Kidman. A friend of mine is elegant and has a beautiful home. The model and the setting were beautiful, my picture was not. If I try this again, I think I need to use a different lens.
The PHO 209 Project images can be found on my website at:

Copyrighted Pictures

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