These are the 3 portraits that I started during the Ted Nuttall Workshop that I reported on in the previous post. I really like them. They represent a new style and approach for me so I’m just getting comfortable with it but it just resonates very deeply with me.
I was inspired by this guy’s look of paranoia. He was a small figure in the background of a photograph and I liked his look but the quality of the image was very poor so I had to make up quite a bit of it. One thing I’ve learned is that to do portraits from photographs a good quality photo is essential.
This portrait captured the look I was going for. What I’m drawn to in portrait work is to capture a moment in time. A moment when the subject is unaware of being observed and is caught up in some feeling.
This one would be my favourite. I think it’s the technically the cleanest of the 3. I also like the way the drips from the background wash seemed to form a picket fence so I went with that look and it’s very appropriate.
The challenge for me in doing this work is that it’s a very intuitive process. Trying a mark here and a mark there. It’s a very worthwhile challenge because it forces me to slow down and do a lot more thinking which is always helpful. It also forces me to concentrate of lots of light layers to build up the form.
Another challenge is what to do with the backgrounds. Each of these works has a background build up by applying successive layers of light washes which creates a neutral grey. Then just a suggestion of some object or shape gives the background a focus. I remember Ted saying that he had no formula for the backgrounds and he it was always a challenge for him to create the background. I know exactly what he means.
The other factor in this approach is that good reference material is a necessity so I’m spending more time with the camera now.
The biggest take away for me from this new experience is that I love it and I will be continuing to pursue portraits in the future.