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In the Narrative Portraiture series, photographer and teacher Chris Orwig explores how to use location and natural light to create images that tell stories about their subjects and produce a strong emotional connection.
In this installment, Chris travels to Texas to visit two artists: David Cargill, a Beaumont sculptor who works with bronze and marble, and Charles Stagg, another Beaumont sculptor but in recycled and found materials. Chris takes their portraits and spends time discussing the composition and lighting in each session.
Chris also reviews the photos he took, and discusses the gear he used and the lessons he learned while visiting with and photographing these artists.
All right! I have another assignment for you; it's called Art and the Artist. What I want you to do is to seek out an artist who lives in your community. This could be someone who is a basket weaver, who does ceramics, who makes paintings. It doesn't really matter what they do, but I want you to find an artist and then I want you to go and visit with them and visit with them in their space. Your goal is to try to capture some images of their art, take pictures of what that looks like, and also the artist. Try to create pictures that somehow reflect who that person is and the art that they create.
But I also want you to have a little bit of a hidden agenda. In other words, I want you to use that photo shoot as an excuse to get to know this person's creative process. So as you take pictures, ask them about their creative process. When are they most creative? How do they get to making this particular type of art? What do they do? What do they think about? What inspires them? Ask those questions. And then after the photo shoot, what I want you to do is to spend some time with the journal and write down your reflections. What struck a chord with you, what was fascinating, what was interesting about their creative process? And then next, write a little bit about your own creative process.
What inspires you? When are you most creative? Reflect a little bit on that. So in a sense, this assignment is about photographing an art and an artist, trying to capture a bit of their story, but then also asking yourself, well, what's my story? When am I most creative? And use this photographic assignment or this exercise to try to create good images, but also to try to reflect upon yourself so that you can grow as an artist.
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