An Active Portrait

In order to get my subject’s attention away from the fact I was photographing them, this portrait exercise required them to be partaking in an activity. The model for this exercise and I decided that the easiest and most obvious activities were the household chores. For this exercise I was concentrating on the on the person and the face rather than the actual activity. I followed my subject round her condo watching and photographing her doing all manner of day-to-day tasks at home, such as watering the plants and making the bed, both of which afforded good lighting conditions. In the end I settled on the set I took of her taking the laundry in. Again it afforded good light which meant I could shoot at a low ISO (200) and keep the shutter rate high enough to avoid unwanted blur (between 1/100th-1/160th).
I have intentionally kept in the clothes hanger and kitchen door in these shots to gives a more urban feel to the images.

Washing

Washing

I like the glimpse of faux green grass in this frame. It shows an effort to live a more suburban life within the confines of the urban construct. The slight movement of folding the towel is also a pleasing feature of this image.

Washing 1

Washing 1

The thing I noticed in all the frames from this exercise is the amount of concentration that is generally going on in my subject’s face. This image contains my favourite lighting of the series, as all the features are well defined giving a good contrast.

Washing 2

Washing 2

Probably my favourite image from the series as the vibrant red is offset against the listless expression of absent thoughts. The light in this shot is more direct as the subject faces in to it as she turns. It gives hotter highlights than the other images.

Washing 3

Washing 3

Again the concentration on the face whilst folding the towel. Further urban living is quite literally reflected in the glass door. I was careful to keep myself out of shot!

Washing 4

Washing 4

Similar to the last image but with the face fuller in the frame. There is a nice contrast to the facial features owing the diffused light with the subject facing away from the direct light.

Washing 5

Washing 5

The last image in the series gives a hint of a smile, albeit covered by the towel. Clearly the eyes and part of the mouth are smiling. Possibly it is the last towel to be folded. Could that make someone happy?
The final images that presented themselves from this set were quite surprising as my usually bubbly subject suddenly takes on the classic persona of someone performing the most mundane of tasks.  A shot of urban living with the subject performing the in the job-in-hand but whose mind is generally in absentium. Technically I found myself photographing at around 40mm-50mm (full-frame equivalent) for these images. This was a good focal length to avoid distortion but ultimately quite lucky as the confines of the condominium meant I could have been shooting a lot wider.

My thanks to Natasha (www.natashabailie.com) for her time and character.

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