Thursday, 8 October 2009

Someones mood? and lighting choice?

OK, this i think might be a long one, so put a pot on before you read this one.
So, without beating around the bush so to speak, lets just dive right in.

we all know about the almost cliche', colours in a portrait explain the mood. And yes to some extent this is true, but not necessarily always the case (blue and dark colours would certainly be used in a portrait of an Eskimo, but heck he might be happy right?) another important part of depicting the mood in a portrait is the use of lighting.

to try and get the right mood for my portrait, i wanted to some experimenting to some extent, to get that lonely, hostile feel in my portrait.

now before i show you these, I'd like to raise a point. A lot of my peers who have spoken to me about my blog almost complain that a lot of my research is photo based. yes it is, this is because i come from a photography background and it's what i feel comfortable doing. Don't worry, its not a cop out, there will be all my sketches uploaded within the next day or so, so chill out! and as for the photos taken today, it took 6 hours of lighting and rigging and editing, so please avoid thinking that I've slacked off, because that's far from the case.

Wouldn't want to meet that handsome chap in a dark alley! well, in all seriousness, the confrontational onward glare accompanied by the lower lighting immediately makes the viewer feel uneasy. just the feel I'm going for, i want to give the viewer a slight taste of the unease i feel in my job, the loneliness, the awkwardness and this shot gives a fare flavour of them all. I'm still on the fence though for this lighting.

I do not, repeat, DO NOT, want this to be given the redundant tag of ''this shows a dark and light side''. this portrait doesn't, so lets not go there. i gave this a distinct one sided light to give a feeling of motion, let me explain. the view of the subject is ahead, and everything to left is darkness's. on the right however is light, the escape if you will, the need to break the mould and change, only the subject is only just coming to realise this, it is only half apparent to him. this is the motion that i mean. it also gives a feel of loneliness, in the sense that, although yes i do socialise and are around people, this may be superficial (like the light source) and whats really going on has yet to be realised by the subject and the viewer.

This is my personal favourite. once again the light source is more dominant on one side of the figure although is slightly elevated this time. with the peak of the hat blocking out both eyes, you are already locked off from a large part of the subject, by not being able to judge the characters mood through their eyes. again, i don't know, cliche' or not, eyes are a major factor in giving away a story, police use the eyes as a human lie detector, so just think what they do for someone cemented in that moment. as soon as you remove them, you remove the safety of that, and create an enigma. this gives a strong hostile feel to the viewer, again something i was hoping to show in my portrait, something i wanted to someone to look at and not immediately think ''oh i can relate to him''.

Part 2 coming up....


  1. Evening - yes, what a menacing character you are (or at least appear to be in these portraits). You resemble a Daily Mail reader's worst nightmare here :-) Seriously, though, it's clear that you've spent time getting this set-up, so no, relax, I'm making no assumptions that you're slacking; and photography, like drawing, is a tool, so you won't get any complaints from me.

    Interesting: you are not a hostile individual, but I assume, in your job as a doorman, it's vital that you convey a bit of this to ensure the status quo; so, are these portraits about a mistake people are liable to make about your character, or is this character you too - at least some of the time?

    Re. the drawing thing - your peers are right to some extent; if drawing is a muscle, then I want you to make sure that you work it as much and as often as your photography muscle (excuse the poor attempt to use body-building metaphors to arrest your attention!). On a purely practical note, remember that your blog MUST evidence your life-drawings and all your Maya exercises; you may be finding the Maya stuff challenging right now, but it will get more intuitive for you if you stick at it, and you have to complete the various exercises and upload them or risk not passing the 'creative development' component - and you don't want that! Personally, I think you're making some interesting work and exploring some very interesting ideas theoretically (male objectification etc.). I think yours could/should be a very interesting submission and I'm looking forward to it. No pressure, then.... :-)

  2. I'd hate to say that the form i'm going to take with the portrait is nothing but a cliche' because i've been told for years
    ''before i knew you, i thought you were really moody'' and i just want people to get a good look at that. understand what it is about me that makes people think that.

    the sketches are going to be uploaded as soon as possible (end of the weekend i would hazard a guess at) these inculding the life drawing class work and my creative development towards my final piece. as for the maya, theres no escaping that i know :-( i am soldiering on with it though, slowly but surely.

    PS. I think a daily mail readers worst nightmare is an empty space between the sun and the news of the world to be honest.

    PSS. i'm loving the metaphors, slowly brainwashing me into getting more work done at midnight on friday!