Art, Life, Photography, Portraits

People Pictures: Exercise 2

Photo by Annie Leibovitz

People Portraits: Exercise 2 was pretty in depth in a way I didn’t expect.  This exercise focus wasn’t on taking pictures but on researching them.  Chris Orwig separated the exercise into several steps: defining the task, cheating an agenda, celebrate and view, collect and save, and critque and define.

In this exercise we are working on developing a critical eye both for our own photographs and others.  As Chris Orwig points out, it’s easy to be moved by the person or the humanity in the picture and the excitement of that sometimes leads to lowering our critical skills.  Viewing art should be a habit if you are an artist.  If you’re a writer, then read, if you’re a photographer look at photographs etc.  By viewing others work we critique our own as well as get inspired!  So here are the different aspects to this assignment.

Defining the Task: We start off this exercise by writing down the top 20 pictures of people you like most.  It’s actually a lot harder than you think!  I had to do some research to actual get the photos and not just the artists.

Creating an Agenda: Orwig suggests that observing is not a passive act.  He says we should keep these three elements in mind: celebration, collection, and critique.  He says that great photographs include all three.  So, next, write down those words and leave space in between them to add notes.

Celebrate and View: Celebration is easy.  This is something that comes naturally and we love to do.  But train your eye to look in a different way.  Take an hour and celebrate photography in a way you don’t typically do.

Collect and Save: Collect those pictures that inspire you.  Keep them for later so you can pull them out again and again.  Take 45 min to go through your 4 favorite magazines and tear out the pages and keep the images.  Next, get online and look through images.  Keep a folder on your desktop with your favorites.

Critique and Define: Critiquing photographs takes intention.  We have to spend time with a photograph and respond to it to say what we really think or feel.  But critique is somewhat subjective isn’t it?  So first, write down your definition of what makes a photograph good.

So I haven’t finished this exercise yet but I don’t think it’s meant to be “finished.”  I am trying to make it into a habit.  I have started a photo journal where I can put clippings, ideas, and critiques.  I have started going to the library on my lunch break at work and looking at photo books.  And of course like most young people my age, I have been ravaging the interweb for great photos.  But I thought I would give you a list of photographers I have come across for your own searches.   Be forewarned a lot of these have nudity, or are weird, but I think we have to look outside our box.  Get uncomfortable sometimes.  Besides I think you can pull different aspects out of an artists work that you can appreciate or like.  So here is my list: Brooke Shaden, Andre Brito, Sally Mann, Annie Leibovitz, Ansel Adams, Sylvie Bendel, Paul Quiambao, Raphael Guarino, Milena Galibova, Yousuf Karsh, Steve McCurry, and Mark Seliger.  Feel free to share some of your favorites!


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