Research: Lighting for portraiture – David Bailey.

Featuring in this months British Journal of Photography is portraiture by David Bailey.  Portraiture is not something I have ever really tackled in a studio and certainly not as a posed  genre.  By the time I have worked through the subject of photographic lighting I would like to think that I can begin to dabble a little with posed work.

Certainly I am not into ‘pretty’ fashion portraiture as a general rule and my eye wanders to ruddier complexions.  On page 40 of BJP is a close up of Man Ray (1968).  It is a classic example of what catches my eye.  Page 41 there is also an image of Damon Albarn (2007). Again the lighting casts harsh shadows that helps to create atmosphere….or to bring out personality.
The image of Man Ray can also be seen on page 2 of this link:
Last accessed:07/03/2014
The image of Damon Albarn can also be seen here on this link:
Another notable portrait using harsh shadow but with a female model (p.41) is of Jane Birkin 1969.
The portrait can be viewed here.
What I have learnt from David Bailey is that harsh shadow can be your friend in creating portraiture that packs a punch.  As I write this I am remembering another documentary portrait of the potter I work with.  The image was genuinely captured while he was working:
The image was taken with a Nikon V1. I am realising that I do ‘see’ lighting for portraiture but it is an intuitive ‘thing’ rather then a planned ‘thing’.  I now need to go back and see if I can make a transition to planned portraiture.  I just get so self conscious when I have people watching what I am doing!!
Hamilton, P. (2014). David Bailey. British Journal of Photography. n/a (n/a), 44-55.

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