Is the photographer invisable?

I read Jennifer’s lovely post about portraits and that made me think. And to be honest I haven’t been able to stop thinking about photography and the definitions in that post. Let me start by saying this isn’t me saying I know better – I just have to share my thoughts about how I look at photography all together.

A starting point

It all started when I read the definition of portraits:

a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 

There is two things I object to. The first is that portraits most be of “people” – and I think I share that objection with Jennifer. But second I also object to the part that portraits is a representation of a person. Because I always think that a portrait is  more than just that. From my point of view I think that we as photographer are a part of the picture. I don’t think that portrait’s only are a representation of the subject but also a representation of the photographer.

Is the photographer invisable?

In any photographic image the result is a representation of the photographer and his or her knowledge about the subject. But also of the photographers values, perspective and objectives (which can be both personal or business) etc. Reading the definition of portraits make me wonder where is the photographer? We do interpret our motives: toys or persons. And that affects the portrait and in the end the image. We as photographers always give the viewer our representation of the motive. And every definition of photography ought to include that. As I see it 🙂

The image is representaion of the photographer

For me photography of toys or people is about the photographer as well as the motive. In my photography I don’t think that I even can do a portrait of who a person is or who or what a toy are. My strongest believe is that I only can do a picture of what I see and ”think” that person/toy is. So even though I love Jennifer’s post about portrait, I don’t agree with the idea that I as a photographer can be invisible and only portray or make a representation a person or a toy. We -as photographers -are, as I see it, very much part of the image.

Kristina

Pint-Sized Portraits

A Short Introduction

Toy photography, while in itself a form of fabricated or tableau photography, has a way of spanning across all genres of the medium. This is one of the many many things I love about toy photos. Through toys we can tell stories, document places, record our travels, explore tiny details, the list goes on. To highlight the magic of toy photos and all the things they can come to represent I thought I’d create some posts of different photo genres and where toys fit within them.  

In a sense I’ve talked about architecture and product photography here before, and I’m here today to make a case for portraits.

Portraiture

Portrait: a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face 

– Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Artistic representations of people began with cave paintings and have been a part of all cultures since. Quite simply they are representations of people. Toy figures themselves are representations of the same, and thus so are our photographs of them. 

Learn more about the history of artistic portraits here.

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”


– Paul Caponigro

Plastic Faces

A human face can tell us a lot about the person, through their expression, wrinkles, sunspots, makeup, etc. A toy face is a bit different. Typically expressionless or bound to one emotion, we have to find ways to tell the figure’s story for them through posing, lighting and other props. While toys come in many varieties, using human like figures in your photos can truly help your audience relate – through these plastic, inanimate objects the viewers can see themselves.

We give toy figures a voice by making portraits of them. 

Jennifer Nichole Wells

Do you ever take portrait-like images of your toy figures? Tell us about it and leave a link to a photo in a comment below.

Also, if you enjoy this post idea let me know what photo genres you’d most like to see next.


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