This week started off with me receiving a rather pleasant portfolio review. I have gotten some over the years rather scathing.
If you care to read:
One of the beauties of reviewing a submission like yours is that I can see the range of ways that you are thinking/seeing as a portrait photographer. There are images that have a more documentary-style, images that are more studio-style, and then there's the tableau photograph that elicits a beautiful emotional/narrative idea about resurrection. It's great to see this range.
I think a lot of photographers/artists are seeking out the perfect gaze/interaction with the camera/viewer in their work. And image 1 really captures the tension and essence of moment that unfolded between you and the model. The softness of the light does a beautiful job of allowing those eyes to lance the camera, and touch me. No less, I am interested in the model's body language: slightly apprehensive with her raised shoulder facing the camera. It's a complex photo that has many narratives built into it.
Image 2 also dials us into the gaze of the model. And in this case, I am drawn to the sincerity with which she is looking up at the camera. There is a certain surrender to the moment that I am feeling in her expression. This photograph has a lot to do with how she is situated within the larger space of the photographic rectangle. And I don't quite feel that relationship is resolved. I would continue to play with the crop and/or the elements in the background that are being seen.
The longer I studied image 3, the more I discovered. Of course the frame of the window performs a strong service of framing the scene. But the soft focus elements in the background also do a beautiful job of drawing our attention right to the model. The highlight lines are beautiful. As a single image it is strong. I also wonder if you have other images that either work with the idea of people framed by a window and/or other pictures working with this model.
Image 4 is very arresting. From a purely visual standpoint, the composition is beautiful. I also find the balance of delicate tones is striking. And the gesture and concept behind the photograph is riveting. There's a strong sense of angst and pain that comes through. And in the context of what you have written, I can feel this in my own body. Nicely done.
Your talents clearly revealed themselves at an early age. Image 5 is an intense and moving photograph. The use of light is excellent. And the authenticity of your mother's gesture and expression is outstanding. It's a riveting moment. And I wonder if you have more photographs of her. I also wonder if you know of Mark Asnin's book "Uncle Charlie?" You might be interested in that project.
Your photographs are stirring, Jason. A lot of the images I see today feel blasé or somewhat neutral. But your photographs ask me to feel and think. And I appreciate that talent of yours."