For the first project of the Intensive Production module I am planning to produce a series of three Portraiture hybrid images.
Unlike in classic Portrait photography I am attempting to construct the portrait out of more than one image. The images will be digitally cut in either horizontal or vertical stripes and combined into one image using Photoshop. Stylistically this aims to create a hybrid between Montage and Portrait photography.
The idea behind this is to capture more than one frequency of a person’s life and outline a broader picture of their identity.
One single image might represent just one side to a person’s character whereas two form a more solid outline of a personality. This being said, it would be my aim to capture two characteristics that stay in contrast with each other, to portray the versatility of someone’s nature.
In addition I am planning to exhibit the series of portraits with a recorded ‘voice-soundtrack’ of the subject telling a story. These stories I will obtain from interviews before and after the shooting. It is not as much as important to what they say but more to hear their voice as third element that forms the portrait.
The voice is merely there to enhance what you can already observe, just like a soundtrack does in moving image.
Our brain is naturally prone to take the visual information passed on from the center of vision and processing it. During this process our brain will be making up for any missing pieces to complete the picture in our head. This is how optical illusions work or it is possible for some visually impaired people to ‘see’ more than they physically able to see.
By choosing contrasting backgrounds for the two ‘base’ images the separation between the two individual mages will be easier.
Our eye will automatically focus on one of the images more than on the other.
In order to see the second image it will take further concentration and focus of the beholder, which is exactly what I am aiming for.
This effect is attempting to challenge the viewer to interact with the visual material they are looking at.
The idea to create an image that leaves the contemplator the opportunity ‘to figure the image out’ was inspired by Daido Moriyama’s photography.
You have to invest some focus and time to fully grasp what it is you are looking at, as the observer you become more “active”.
A further source of inspiration was the basic idea of ‘photo fits’.
Photo fits try to construct an incomplete identity digitally by mixing all the visual sources of a person they already have.
Not just does this point out what is technological possible but also that software is able to shape and construct physical features photo realistically. The Photographer Giles Revell took this software to outline the extend to which you can achieve accurate results using this software. This is exhibited contrasting the original portrait.
In the Photography industry there is software such as Professional Portrait known to be able to re-shape and form facial and bodily features. Noses, eye shapes and physique all can be formed exactly the way we want it to.
This draws on contemporary debates about the mediation and the amount of editing that goes into media imagery.
The lines between what reality and perfection get blurred and ideology and discourses about identity adapt.
Back in the beginning of the Photography history the lens was said to be the factor between the human and reality that, rather than capturing reality, shapes it. The ‘truth claim’ was a topic discussed by many known theorists like Saussure.
Referring to contemporary debates on ideology and identity my project is attempting to produce a series that represents the opposite.
It is going to show off the ‘production’ side of the image, rather than hiding it, as well as showing a facet of an identity.
The production itself is planned to take place in the St Matthias photo studio, as I will be using the black and the white background for my images.
In order to achieve images that are complementary and work good as layers it will require me to strictly define the position and frame of my subject.
This will involve a fixed position of the tripod as well as certain guidelines for my individuals.
I am aiming to find five potential subjects to portray so I will be able to narrow my images down to three different people during the post-production process. This will include several portraits per person to work with.
Ideally I will end up with a range of interesting and unique characters that represent a variety of ages, backgrounds and personalities.
My search for potential individual starts now.