Slow portraits

Slow portraits ask you to take your time. We set up a studio, we get the light right. Actually - I do that.

We consider what is in the photo, and why. It’s stripped back to its essentials, what you want to say.

We capture an aspect of you, or your child. You can bring favourite clothes, crazy homemade masks, grandma’s jewellery - whatever says what you’d like to say. Let’s play.

One of my influences is In The American West by Richard Avedon. I loved his makeshift studio, the way there’s the landscape on the people - dirt, grease, whatever clothes they’re wearing, the light. He had a background that was simple so that all of your focus is on them. It’s still considered, though, as accidental as it seems.

So let’s get together and create something. We’ll have some fun.

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make it a cyanotype

Cyanotype of your favourite. What’s a cyanotype?

Literally ‘blue prints’, 18th century technology. Crazy-looking mathematician John Herschel invented it when he got tired of waiting for his students to write his lectures, so he wanted a way to reproduce notes. That’s cool, just invent a new technology. He shared it with his friend Anna Atkins, who is credited as being the first female photographer, and produced one of the first photo books. She too, wasn’t really focusing on photography per se. She was a botanist.

So yes - here we are - we can make this beautiful sun print from a digital file. How cool is that?

A simple, dark background works particularly well for this. From physical world (you!), to digital file, to physical world again - printed on textural watercolour paper in cyanotype’s wonderful galactic ultramarine, or toned with green tea or coffee to make lovely purplish brown hues.

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Ultramarine blue hits my nervous system in such an exciting way – there’s no other colour – I mean you go to an art supply house and there’s forty-eight colours available and instinctively I go for this and just squirt it out… it’s not a word thing, the way it hits the nervous system.
— Brett Whiteley