Friday, June 22, 2012

Candid Portraiture is No Cake Walk

Erin, Not a Mona Lisa Smile



I did more work on this last night, but I'm really not
liking the smile--enough so, that the drawing became just another sketch.as my strokes got less controlled, as I got more frustrated. Her smile isn't genuine. It's annoying.

 This morning I photographed it thinking at least fifty shots have to be taken to get a decent, photo of a person and preferably those shots aren't taken with them sitting in front of you and you saying "Hold it." Catching candid shots with people unaware you're there might be the way to go? Constantly taking pictures, people eventually would take you for granted--you'd become invisible.

Ellis, Suduko and Coffee
 Honey is my live-in model (at first, much to his annoyance), but he has become so used to me walking around with my camera to my eye, he never hears the sound of the shutter, never looks around to see what I was shooting. Here is a candid shot I took right after photographing my drawing of Erin. It's him in his morning quiet time. It's hardly an action shot.

 With portraiture, photography skills are as important to focus on as figurative painting and drawing. With the idea of hitting the road with my camera, I bought a new tote bag yesterday that will hold the camera as well as sketch book and pens. My plan is to get out a little more, shoot candids and scribble figurative compositions. If you see me, just ignore me. Eventually I'll go away taking your image with me. I 'll call for your signature on a release form if anything comes of images. --Portraiture beyond the studio setting is no cake walk.

POSTSCRIPT: I'm having the same problem as yesterday. I have to write in HTML mode and transfer to compose to break up the text. Positioning the photographs is a hit and miss--what am I saying. Getting the pictures where I want them is a total miss, which is very distressing for someone who used to manually layout a magazine.

14 comments:

  1. I know--it's so frustrating not to be able to make the computer do what you really want it to do. My computer skills are spotty.

    The drawing is good. For future kid portraits you might try a combined approach: photos for reference, but also when you're ready to capture the look of mouth or eyes, have her come and pose--for less than a minute--in front of you. This method worked for me with a young child. (Of course, you would need that kind of access to the kid. I had it because she's my great-niece.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not going to happen with this one. They come back for a day and leave the following day. Maybe I could have her pose--she's pretty accommodating, but I'm not sure she could give me a natural smile. I remember my own kids going through the awkward photographic period. Their school pictures looked like they were from another planet. Back then the photographer just paraded the kids through wherever he had been allowed to set up and took one shot.Today, the schools seem to be hiring more accomplished photographers who have sets and all necessary lighting.

      Delete
  2. Your plan to get out with camera and notebook is great. I keep telling myself I MUST do that, too. An I am sorry google and blogger are giving you so much grief again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I do have that equipment in my new tote bag--now will I actually take it out? First things first.

      I handled it better today. While I gave compose the benefit of being fixed, I knew what to do when I discovered it wasn't. Tomorrow I just go directly to HTLM. Write the old way and then tweak it in compose. That seems tow ork. Meanwhile if I'm sending in feedback to Google I certainly am not seeing any results or getting any acknowledgments. I don't have a lot of computer savvy, but I am willing to fool around.

      Delete
  3. Smiles are really tough. first of all the corners of the mouth do not always curve up like people think. Then there are the teeth which we have to forget are there just focusing on the values I think. And how does the smile affect the rest of the face - the cheeks and eyebrows. Tough. I think you did an excellent job with it. I used to use my phone for shots of people out and about. Don't like the camera in my new phone though. Phone is good because it is not noticeable. Sometimes not clear but sometimes that's good - using imagination makes the painting less photo like. Drawing and painting folks in public is not a portrait in my opinion - you needn't care if there is a good likeness, only if the scene is good. If there is no likeness, no need for a release.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right. The iPad camera is good too. People think you're gaming.

      I'm not scared off by toothy smiles if they are legitimate. When they are not, like Erin's, which looked real at the time I shot, but turned out to be just as phony as the one she gave me before, that's annoying.

      If one is going to choose portraiture as their life's work, photographing people is a major concern. Photographic skills are as important as drawing skills. You're working with the public, with buyers. Figurative drawing out in the world is something different. You're right Dan, you don't need to be concerned about likeness at all--with self portraits, you don't have to be concerned with likeness either. I think self portraits can be more expressionistic than realistic. The handling of the image is how the image impressed you at the time. Portraiture is an interesting topic for discussion. The why of it is key to the how of it.

      Delete
  4. Estimada Linda. Precioso dibujo. Hace tiempo que no visitas mi blog y hecho de menos tus comentarios. ¡Un abrazo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He echado de menos sus comentarios también. Me alegré de ver a uno de ustedes.\nLo siento. He sido negligente con mi siguiente. Mis nietos\nhan acabado con mi energía. Se van a casa el martes. Estaré de vuelta el 100%.

      Delete
  5. You are so funny - I can totally identify with the computer frustrations, but your expression thereof makes me smile a "yes, exactly!!" smile. I'm also usually not so kind with my words to the machine.

    Not knowing Erin(just having seen you reference picture) she looks very much like Erin to me. Even her mouth closely resembles the reference... why is it so hard to translate mouths?? I like Jean's idea...but also hear your natural smile dilemma - it is true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have an evening and a day left with this kid of the phony smile. I'm going to try to get her to act natural, but I don't have much hope. I think she's been over photographed and is probably sick of it. Her brother, on the other hand, is a camera ham. He'll strike modelesque poses at the click of a camera bag. When they leave, I'll probably paint a few little heads. When it comes to painted portraits, I'm still in the "pay-my-dues" stage.

      Delete
  6. On the blog: I'd change the template. It is easy and one must first save the current template, which is also easy.

    I wish I were doing portraits! My only thought on the smile is make the dark areas on either side of her teeth different sizes. It is close, and I wouldn't have criticized it on first look. You are very talented, Linda.

    Love the pastels.

    Ever your friend,
    KC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I looked up the pastels you had on your workshop blog. They are gorgeous! I'm not ready to make the investment, but I wish I was. Pastels are suited to my temperament. I love their immediacy and the lack of fuss during the process.

      I didn't think of changing the template, but I'll try it if nothing happens in the next few days. I've got down how to get around the problem. Yesterday was aggravating. Today was better. Tomorrow will be cake. I'll have to keep testing though. That's annoying.

      Thank you, but I don't think I'm talented. I have raw talent yes, but I'm missing a major ingredient: focus. Blogging has helped. In the three years I've been doing it, I've confirmed the genre that is my cup-of-tea and I'm now zeroing into which medium I prefer over all the ones I've tried. Unfortunately, time is against me. It's pathetic. With time running out, I absolutely would have regrets if my artistic capabilities hadn't proven lucrative in the design/build business. Too straight forward? Always. Ever your friend too. LR

      Delete
  7. I never did realise how I was annoying others with my camera, until someone pointed one at me over and over again...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can see what you mean about Erin's smile...but I still think she looks cute...and love that shot of Ellis in a quiet and absorbed moment :-)

    ReplyDelete