‘Through the first four workshops you have explored the power relationship between
photographer and subject, starting with yourself before looking at someone close to you
and a stranger. You should now apply your skills garnered through these and the technical workshops to assist either a stranger or someone you already know* to make their own portrait. You should not take charge of the photographic conversation but should empower the ‘subject’ in being able to make their own pre-visualization and chosen representation, a reality.
*You should not work with someone who has previous photographic experience’

For this task, I asked my friend Dale if he would be willing to participate, and though he appeared tentative at first, when I gave him better context to what I meant by ‘Make your own portrait’, he became rather excited about the concept and started throwing ideas at about how he wanted to appear in the photo.

Honestly, I think perhaps I shouldn’t of asked someone so wonderfully crazy.

We started with discussing how he wanted to appear, which he seemed set on from the beginning. Striking a pose that was similar to the idea of someone regal or in power.

He then insisted on what props he wanted, and grabbed an assortment of things: His replica sword from the ‘Adventure Time’ series, a replica Dragonball, a Charizard Plushie and a pair of steampunk goggles.

This, coupled with the pose he struck, created a portrait that appeared quite juvenile and humorous, two words that describe Dale aptly.

He wanted full colour and bright lighting, which, with the pose and decided positioning of the camera, made him appear hilariously angelic, ascending above everyone else with a bright light drawing attention to him and reinforcing his wish to appear powerful.

Dale was uncomfortable initially with the idea, and I think that’s why this portrait become something so posed and comical. He uses humour a lot, including in situations when it’s not necessarily appropriate. The props he chose are mentions to the different shows and things he loves, and the pose and positioning of the camera definitely reflect Dales personality. The bright lighting and keeping the photograph in colour were important for him because he felt that they reflected his personality of ‘being fun and a laugh’, while the face being not in focus and covered by goggles gives him the impression of anonymity and made him feel more comfortable with the self portrait.

Dale

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