Analysed Portraits and Portrait Photographers

This blog post will be about my analysis of portraits and portrait photographers. Looking at other photographers work allows me to get an idea on what kind of portrait I want to produce.

Helmut Newton: Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 14.42.57 Helmut Newton was born in Germany on the 31st October 1920 and died in America on the 23rd January 2004. Newton was known a German-Australian photographer known for his photographic style that has widely been imitated within fashion photographer and other mainstay of Vogue and other publications. In Newton early life was affected by the 2nd World War and in the year of 1938 Newton’s life changed for the better as they fled Germany narrowly escaping the persecution of the Nazis. Newton started his photography career once he had fled Germany and arrived in Singapore, China and work as a photographer Straits Times. Fashion Photography became an interest and part of Newton’s career in the 1940’s; he went to Australia and set up a studio. In the next two decades Newton would work in London and Paris and photograph some of the major fashion changes in the 50’s and 60’s.

MT (Helmut Newton)

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – Helmut Newton 1991

This is a black and white portrait of the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shot by Helmut Newton. Helmut Newton was a German Born fashion photographer who worked primarily for vogue. This is a very interesting portrait as you can only see the Thatcher’s face and her shirt, it was very hard to make out her body. Thatcher is head on in the picture, and is portraying a look of dominance and pride. Thatcher was a former conservative prime minister and was the first female prime minister for the United Kingdom. Newton has put the light on Thatcher slightly offset, which adds depth to the portrait. Though I would like to have seen the light full on, but I feel that would have flattened the image and some of the impact would have been lost. The composition of the portrait is good as it fits the rule of thirds completely. The pattern on the clothes compliments the image and works well in black and white.

Edward Steichen: Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 16.22.52 Edward Steichen was born in Luxembourg on the 27th March 1879 and died in America on the 25th March 1973. Steichen was a Luxembourgian American Photographer, but was also a painter, and an art gallery and museum curator. Steichen started his endeavours into the arts at fifteen in 1984; he began a four-year lithography apprenticeship with the American Fine Art Company of Milwaukee. While studying his apprenticeship where Steichen would learn to sketch, draw and paint, he convinced himself to buy a second-hand Kodak box camera. In 1900 Steichen was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1900 and signed the naturalisation papers as Edward J Steichen. Steichen met Alfred in 1900, while in New York before disembarking for Paris. From their first meeting Stieglitz and Steichen became friends and formed a partnership to which Steichen was featured in Stieglitz’s publication Camera Work. Steichen designed the original custom typeface and design of the front cover for Camera Work. Steichen also holds the record for the 5th most expensive photograph sold at auction to date; the photograph in question is called The Pond-Moonlight.

WC (Edward Steichen)

Future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill – Edward Steichen 1932

This is a black and white portrait of former conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill shot by Edward Steichen. Edward Jean Steichen was born in Luxemburg but immigrated to America and is known for being: a photographer, a painter and an art gallery and museum curator. This is a portrait of Sir Winston Churchill who was a conservative British politician, who also became prime minister between the 1940’s and 1950’s (he was in office for May 1940 to July 1945 and again in October 1951 to April 1955). When a viewer approaches this portrait you could be mistaken for thinking the portrait was a full-length portrait. The portrait is black and white but has a sepia tone to it, which adds a certain appeal and timeframe to the image. Churchill’s expression is very interesting it is very subtle hint of concern, which could be because of the current climate of our political affairs abroad. It also is composed within the rule of thirds but cuts out the feet of Churchill to create a more dynamic portrait.

Mick Rock: Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 16.25.00 Mick Rock is a British photographer who creates promotional pictures and portraits for rock and roll legends such as David Bowie, Thin Lizzy, Ziggy Stardust and Daft Punk. Rock started his career shooting his first images for David Bowie and then went on to produce album covers for Syd Barrett (The Madcap Laughs, Iggy and the Stooges (Raw Power) and many more. Rock then went on to produce music videos for David Bowie’s singles: Space Oddity, Life On Mars and Jean Genie for Bowie’s Sound and Vision collection. Mick has since gone onto shoot more recent music artists, though Rock is considered by many as “The Man Who Shot the Seventies”.

Mick Rock – Exposed: The Faces of Rock ’n’ Roll (Queen London 1974) (Daft Punk Las Vegas)

Mick Rock – Exposed: The Faces of Rock ’n’ Roll (Queen London 1974) (Daft Punk Las Vegas)

Mick Rock is British photographer best known for images of rock and roll legends such as; Queen, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Daft Punk. The portrait is of Daft Punk a French electronic music producing duo. Daft Punk became famous from the 1980’s and have been a household name ever since. Because of Daft Punk’s masks it can make it hard to work out if this image is really a portrait or not (or rather a fashion image/fashion portrait). It also looks like Rock has used a wide angle, where traditionally a prime lens which is closer to telescopic than a wide angle. This means you can fit more in and emphasis the height of a person rather than giving yourself a tighter crop. The subject of the duo are emphasising curiosity and interest, because you can’t see their actual faces (the photo and their poses are open for interpretation).


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