Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘portrait

Car park portrait

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Shot a quick portrait whilst out and about earlier today on top of a car park in East London. No funny business.

I photographed it completely wide open on a bright sunny day, which isn’t how I normally shoot at all so it was nice to try out a different technique…

Written by Max Colson

October 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Tattoos, discos, and quite a bit of over-exposure

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Portrait of myself, aged 19 (the disco on the right)

Once in a time long long ago I was a bit younger than I am today and I went and got ‘disco’ tattooed on the side of my torso with a friend of mine. Oooops!

East London’s finest tattoo artist Mr Henry Hate was the man we chose for the job way back in about 2005 and I thought I would go back to his shop ‘Prick’ for my recent portrait assignment. He agreed which was very nice of him. Check out his website here if you want to see some seriously fantastic examples of his work (they are examples of fantastically ‘disco-less’ tattooing I may hasten to add).

ANYWAY. I have to say I had one issue with this shoot and that was over lighting. Not being incredibly experienced in controlling light with portraits, I did find it quite a lot to think about when I’m also trying to maintain a comfortable, flowing conversation with my subject and direct them at the same time. I did get better over the course of the portrait assignment; in all I shot 5 people, and in practicing I gained more experience, but I’m definitely going out to do more portrait sessions so I can really get some real control over this powerful mode of photography. I can see it being real fun once I’ve got all of the technical considerations well and truly under my belt.

As I had decided not to spend a bomb on a off camera flash set up just as yet, I went for the good old natural light with Mr Henry Hate. Unfortunately for this session in my not particularly thinking state I think I made a bit of a rookie error by placing Henry in the middle of some very strong midday sunlight with white paper all around him and didn’t compensate for it properly; in the process I managed to produce a lot of over exposed photos that I’m definitely not putting up! = DOH DOH DOH.

I started to think a bit more sensibly towards the end of the shoot and dealt with the strong sunlight a lot better and cranked out some acceptable shots.

All in all it was not a great start to my portrait assignment but I do think I managed to get some decent headshots, one of which is below:


Henry Hate, owner of 'Prick' tattoos in London

Written by Max Colson

March 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm

The portrait of anonymity (post about Roderick Henderson’s work)

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I came across the work of Roderik Henderson after my MA coursemate Simon Bates flagged his work up. I’ve been looking through his work and I just wanted to do a little post about some of his portraits because I think they are really great.

His  series entitled Island is comprised of images which are taken of people from a community in Holland, and are set in the lifts that they use to go to and back from work.  If you look at the images you’ll see that what he has  produced is a series in which he has intentionally given the viewer  almost no insight into who the people are,  because of the location that he has decided to shoot his portraits in and because of the way that he has positioned his subjects in relation to the viewer. The cold, metallic surface of the lift is the perfect place to situate a series of portraits so scarce in personal information.

I just thought this was rather interesting given what I’ve been trying to do with the portraits on my current course assignment; I’ve chosen people with locations that will suggest something about them and what they do. But how much does this actually say about them as a person, besides the visually obvious? And when does this excercise become not worthwhile?

I thought Henderson’s intention was a provocative place to come, given my portrait assignment. It’s fascinating to see an artist who has worked so hard to make sure that what is visual does not actually give that ‘window into the soul’ that the portrait so often tries to convey.



Written by Max Colson

March 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm