17 July 2012

Tell me a story ....

A few years ago I was a participant in a group exhibition that hadn't gone all that well. Despite a record number of people viewing the exhibition, sales were down and so was the gallery owner's face. However, one photographer had sold ALL their exhibited images. The gallery owner commissioned an independent art expert to analyse what went wrong.

The expert's analysis was detailed and comprehensive but the single telling factor was that the images did not hold the viewers attention for more than a few seconds. Successful images, she explained, often had a narrative or story telling component. They held the viewer's attention; they asked the viewer to question the relationship between individuals and physical components; they drew the viewer into the image. In short: They told a story!

The story you design may be real or fictitious. It doesn't matter. Just as a  book can be fact or fiction, so can a photographic portrait. Using lighting and placement, the photographer can create 'heroes' or 'villains'. Press photographers do it almost every day of the week. Cast a face in deep shadow and you create mystery and intrigue. Use soft, subtle 'butterfly' lighting and an air of innocence surrounds the subject.

Enter your favourite portrait in the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win AU$5000 cash. Entries close 1 August 2012.

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