The purpose of this exercise is to capture the person in the context of what they do – work, hobby or a unique activity. The point of having an activity is to preoccupy my subject, giving me the chance to capture spontaneity and remove any awkwardness. The result will be a portrait that lends itself to a natural, artless approach. This is not about how the activity is performed, more about the person and the facial expression.
First, here are a few practice shots.
The street pianist shown here first with his piano, his arching pose shows his energy and passion. The close up shot shows him lost in concentration and fully engrossed in his music.
Another musician. Here strong facial features are evident and the seriousness of the activity is portrayed. He has a comical appearance and an air of fun and casualness from the way he is dressed and yet the piece of music he plays is classical. I love the way the Mona Lisa is looking out to the camera, reminding us of the seriousness of the scene.
My first image shows my subject in context. He is spray painting some parts for his classic MGB.
These two shots show the subject busy at work. The facial expressions differ greatly between the two images. The first displays a relaxed approach to the spraying of an easy part of the item. However the second image depicts a somewhat more frustrating piece of work. The concentration on the face portrays the concentration required to access the intricacies of the piece with the spray gun.