Experimental Portrait Photography

Experimental Portrait Photography

Sometimes photographing a distinguishable face for a portrait photoshoot feels like a statutory constraint. Of course it’s important to recognize someone, especially when the photography shoot is for promotional purposes but admittedly I revel in experimenting with portraits, using both digital and analogue proccesses.

Musicians are probably my favourite clients for portrait photography. Before each photography session, I listen to their music making sure I ask which pieces of work they wish to promote with the photoshoot. The music guides and leads me to fresh ideas and concepts. It is the common acquaintance that reveals unknown personality traits, feelings and desires; that common ground that connects us. No matter what, there is always a collaboration and an exploration of the client's ideas. Even if they are far-fetched and impossible to recreate due to budget constraints, or for any other reasons, it’s always good to discuss them and see what other concepts flourish from the conversation. My favourite shots usually include some sort of movement from either myself or the subject. Even the shots that have a strong sense of stillness, are captured right before a blink of an eye, an exhalation or the next action.
Portraits of various musicians and DJs I photographed in the UK and Cyprus.

I look out for what characteristics stand out in each person. The characteristics can be various body parts other than the face or even specific habits they have. Below are some photographs from the portrait series about my mother. I used 35mm black and white film for this experimental portrait photoshoot. 
35mm, black and white photographs from the experimental portrait series about my mother

The only self portrait I can tolerate to look at was taken using the scanner of an old printer. I liked the idea and so I used it again as one of the approaches for a photoshoot I did for the singer/songwriter ‘Finding Kate’. The whole photoshoot took place in my house a few years back. I chose to keep the final results in black and white as I thought it suited the style and overall personality of the artist. 
Experimental black and white portaits of the singer/songwriter 'Finding Kate'.

I’m pretty good at comforting camera-shy people, yet I still find it very hard to let go and to overcome my own unease in front of the lens. Selfies make me cringe in any shape or form so throughout the years I have been exploring different self-portrait avenues. I experimented with various props, landscapes and techniques and tried to produce something that I felt represented me at the time. I focused on coming up with concepts that didn’t just represent an idea of who I thought I was or of who I thought I could become. It’s hard to be raw and self-critical when you want to showcase yourself through still images. Portraits are engravings of a moment in time, a service for your memory, so it’s normal to desire a photograph that captures the best version of yourself. In the first image, I used a close friend as a model. She wore my clothing, whilst holding a mirror to her face. The photoshoot took place in Akrotiri, my favourite spot on the island. It was the first roll of medium format film I shot with, back in 2004.
Experimental self-portrait.

Experimental portrait photography is one of my favourite fields. I feel it’s a domain that I will never delve into deep enough no matter how many people I photograph. I’m always looking to move away from my comfort zone and explore different avenues, so if you have a portrait photography shoot that is out of the box, please (oh pretty please) get in touch!