Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Head Shot

There is an amazing gallery of images at The New Yorker, a body of work by Platon, shots of Politicians, with a brief commentary with each image, where he talks a bit about the shoot, about the subject. It's also a very well designed, intuitive way to look at work.

The pressure that comes with executing a shoot like this (over 5 days in NY) has got to be incredibly intense. It's minimal on the gear and lighting, but to stay focused for that long with this many powerful peeps takes a massive amount of creative fortitude and focus. Which is where Platon shines. At this level, portraiture is less about the science and more about the art. Specifically the art of connection.

If you haven't seen Platon talking about his portrait shoot with Putin, it's not to be missed. It's listed under the 2008 interviews from the World Press Photo site. Talk about intense! Most humans would crumble under these circumstances.

The cool thing about these shots, though, is that all you need to do them is a camera, (maybe) a light, a wall, and a subject. Anyone can produce a shoot like this, but the real challenge comes with finding interesting subjects, then connecting with those subjects in an interesting way.

I was back on Nadav's site (yes, again) recently and found a few images that fit into this formula. I'm looking for ways to shoot people that I can do anywhere, with or without an assistant, with a minimal amount of gear. It's probably the hardest thing to do in an interesting way, and a great challenge. The solutions are simple, elegant, and really, really hard to find. Check out these beauts from Mr. Kander:

Photography is EASY, right?

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