Archive for November, 2011

Good Portrait Photograph

Posted in Add+Vantage Module Homework on November 14, 2011 by moetdigitalphotography

As a class we were asked to find a good and a bad portrait photograph. I struggled to find a bad portrait as I’m not sure what would constitute as “bad”. Would it be it’s technical qualities such as it being out of focus or over exposed? I don’t think so. There go, I decided to concentrate on finding a good portrait.

James Story, Coal Miner, Somerset, Colorado, December 18, 1979

I chose a photograph from Richard Avedon’s series “The American West”. From 1979 to 1984 Avedon made several trips through the western United States, visiting 13 states and towns from Idaho to Texas. He chose to photograph the real people of the American West, everyday westerners coping with the harsh realities of rural life. Avedon photographed his subjects against a white backdrop but in their own environment. The use of a clean white background removes Avedon’s subjects from their surroundings and places more emphasise on them. The haunting, stark images evoke a sense of the West, these are not images of rosy cheeked families or handsome cowboys, but true Westerners; factory workers, coal miners, drifters and waitresses. I massively admire these portraits for their style and quality, which is why I think they are great portrait photographs. I chose the photo above in particular, due to the subjects (James Story) relaxed yet quite haunting expression and his dirty clothes. The photograph is a story within itself and quite ironic due to the subjects name. It shows the story of a hard working western man, working in the cold winter months not a wholesome pretty cowboy who roams the fields all day!

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