Me, Myself and MRI

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Photography section by Kippa Matthews and Rachel Hazelwood.

This session looked at the key concepts in portrait photography and was led by photographer Kippa Matthews.

Kippa began by showing examples of different types of portrait, including works by photographers such as Jane Bown, Steve Pyke, Arnold Newman, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martin Parr.

"You can't photograph someone's soul, but you can photograph their body language."

David Bailey

We discussed the different types of lighting used in each of the photographs, for instance several of the portraits used as much natural light as possible. We also talked about the difference between close-up facial shots, where you get a lot of detail of the subject's face, and more contextual shots, often shot in a location that has some link to the subject's profession or their interests.

We talked about the importance of pose; setting; colour versus black and white; lighting; and location, and then linked this back to the painted portraits we researched at the art gallery. We also talked about the relationship between the photographer and the subject and the viewer's reaction to the portraits - some of the portraits we looked at showed the subject staring straight into the camera so the viewer can make eye contact with them.

Kippa also showed the group examples of his own work which included photographs of people in their own environment. He then asked the group to think about what kind of photographs they would like taken of the subjects chosen for the MRI project. They decided that they liked the idea of photographs taken on location, which showed what each of the subjects did for a living.

In the following sections you can find out more on the process of taking photographic portraits: