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UNDER THE INFLUENCE
As a person on the planet, I’m taking in and consuming visual images all day. And also by night, if I’m being honest about my ipad viewing habits. As a visual artist, I’m constantly analyzing and reflecting on what my eyes drink in.
Under The Influence is an ongoing series to share the work of other visual artists whose work inspires me. I hope that this will serves as a reminder or an introduction to these artist and also give you some visual pleasure. I am drawn to work that has an interesting and unique point of view, that is simply gorgeous and/or thought provoking. In these posts, I’ll link to the artist’s website so you can explore and enjoy more of their work.
TODAY’S INFLUENCE: SUE BRYCE
First came across portrait photographer Sue Bryce with her inaugural Creativelive 28 Days with Sue broadcast. A friend turned me onto it. With her gentle demeanor and a calming and affirming quality to her voice – I was instantly was captivated.
So why does her women’s portrait style, and her portrait photography education resonate with me?
It’s her unending kindness to her subjects. There’s a humanity and gentleness in her manner, whether she’s photographing women, photographing men or photographing groups. And it’s this that I aspire to.
What I’ve learned from Sue
- It’s not about getting more gear, it’s about understanding the tools you have
- Simple can be strikingly beautiful
- People are treasures, enjoy the process of working with them
LEARNING TO POSE PEOPLE FOR PORTRAITS
When you pose someone in front of the camera, you should starting with the large shapes. These foundation shapes: torso, arms, legs are where you begin. Then you further refine with the smaller shapes. It’s these, that I am calling the smaller shapes make the all the difference in portraits. These are the hands, fingers, shoulders, knees, feet, chin and especially the mouth.
When I began to practice and integrate this idea into my portraits and looked back at my own work, I wanted to edit out 80% of it. All I could see were areas where minute changes to a hand or a more relaxed mouth or a genuine connection to the camera would have made a good portrait a great portrait. You can see where people hold tension (in their hands, in their mouth, sometimes even in curled toes). Ideally, I want my portrait to be without unintentional tension.
Ah, the never ending world of portraits! No wonder I’ve been interested in portraits for over twenty years.
I used all these practiced skills on myself when doing my maternity self portraits. I found that upon hearing my own posing language and kind coaching, I was able to relax and look, huzzah!, like myself in front of the camera. And for that I thank Sue.