Week Four - NPG Visit "Echoes of Inspiration"

Canon 6Dii / Sigma 50mm / 1/200sec / f2.2 / ISO1000

21st AUGUST 2023

OBJECTIVE
This task aims to foster a deep connection with portraiture, encouraging you to draw inspiration from professional work and channel it into your own unique creation.

OBSERVATION & INQUIRY
While touring the National Photographic Portrait Prize (or the broader gallery), engage actively with the displayed portraits.

Observe the techniques, emotions, themes, and narratives that stand out to you. Make notes about the pieces that resonate with your artistic sensibilities.

POST-VISIT REFLECTION
From the myriad of pieces you’ve observed, identify one portrait that made a lasting impression on you. This portrait will serve as your primary source of inspiration for the next step. Take a snap of the portrait with your phone for your records and to show the class later.

DRAWING ECHOES
Now, it’s your turn to step behind the lens!

Capture a portrait, which could feature a classmate, a willing stranger, or even yourself.

While your chosen portrait from the exhibition will guide your creative direction, it’s crucial that your photograph remains uniquely yours. This means you shouldn’t directly replicate the exhibition piece. Instead, let elements like mood, lighting, or theme from the inspirational piece echo in your work, allowing your personal style and interpretation to shine through.

I absolutely loved this image – “Portrait of my Mother As An Ethno-Futurist Icon” (2023) by photographer Sammaneh Pourshafighi as it immediately reminded me of my own quirky mother. I have a very special and close relationship with my mother and she has shaped the woman I am today so I wanted to take this vibe and make it my own.

I took this photograph outside my house in front of a shipping container during golden hour, however the area was very shady, and I used a speedlight with an umbrella to enhance her and make her pop.

I chose to use my 50mm prime lens as I really love it for this type of portrait. I feel like it gives a really true representation of the scene in this type of portraiture. I chose a shallow depth of field so that I could blur the background somewhat, even though she wasn’t too far off the background (as I believe the original inspiration photo was taken).

I was surpised how quickly this shoot came together as it was one of the first times using location flash on my own. I think it took my mother longer to get ready for the shoot than the actual photography took lol.

So much feedback! Two pages…

Great portrait! I like the composition, how the subject is central in the frame and there is breathing room around the subject. The background is a good choice, there is a texture of the shipping container and the graffiti which create interest, but the background doesn’t distract from the main subject The subject stands out from the background partially because of colour choice – the blue of the container and the reds in your mother’s jacket, as well as the use of depth of field. I think the image does successfully capture some of the quirkiness of the inspiration image, but also shows your mother’s own personality rather than copying the original portrait too much.

I love that your mother was keen to help you with this project! I love that you thought through the dress/style to suit your mum’s personality. The lighting is quite lovey and I love the detail in her face, representing age and a life well lived. If anything I think the background distracts from the portrait. does it represent your mum’s personality?

This is a fabulous representation of the original and the choice of background was well executed. The depth of field is lovey and the reflection in the sunglasses.

I really like the cool colour palette, with the coolness complimenting the subjects colouring it’s a lovely take of the original image – captures the feeling nicely. The lines all direct our gaze to the subject, and the pinks in the clothing counter balance the hard lines in the background, giving a lovely balanced feel to the whole image. Love it.

You did a wonderful job in capturing your mother’s personality in this image. As you mentioned, the background is quite subtle, but constructed in a clever way with the arrows pointing towards the subject. I am also quite captivated by the reflection in your mothers sunglasses, maybe because I love a good sunset! The contrast between your mother’s warm, cosy appearance to the metal background is great as well.

I really like the contrasting colours and line in this image, and the arrows pointing towards the subject really make them stand out more. I love the style and personality.

Very bright and nice image. Well composed and executed. Love the concept and the different color choice, great subject matter and background. Awesome job!

Honestly, I don’t have much to say. The feedback was wonderful and really gave me a boost with regards to my portraits. I am so glad I asked my mum to do this photograph. She makes a wonderful subject and is super patient with me learning. I wouldn’t change anything in this photo! Super happy!