• Keepsakes From the Past

    Date posted: July 20, 2009 Author: jolanta
    My interest in portraiture first came to me after obsessing over Richard Avedon, his truthful and beautiful capturing of politicians, artists, writers, and actors. His work made me realize the importance and power of a portrait. Later it became about pulling from many mediums; I love Nick Knight, but I also love Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches, Tony Scott, comic books, movies, and television. The Orange Series was the first series of portraits that I ever shot, and the effect was actually not planned. I shot the first one in a friend’s studio where I was scheduled to shoot a “test,” and the model got lost and never showed up. I had spent an hour setting everything up, and was ready to shoot. As a young photographer I didn’t want to waste the opportunity in a studio, so instead, I asked the hair stylist, the makeup artist, and their assistants to sit for me.

    Rennio Maifredi

     

     

     


    My interest in portraiture first came to me after obsessing over Richard Avedon, his truthful and beautiful capturing of politicians, artists, writers, and actors. His work made me realize the importance and power of a portrait. Later it became about pulling from many mediums; I love Nick Knight, but I also love Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches, Tony Scott, comic books, movies, and television.

    The Orange Series was the first series of portraits that I ever shot, and the effect was actually not planned. I shot the first one in a friend’s studio where I was scheduled to shoot a “test,” and the model got lost and never showed up. I had spent an hour setting everything up, and was ready to shoot. As a young photographer I didn’t want to waste the opportunity in a studio, so instead, I asked the hair stylist, the makeup artist, and their assistants to sit for me. Originally I wanted to shoot a black-and-white test with a gray background. I couldn’t get a seamless gray background in time, so I shot against orange which, in black and white, was the perfect shade of grey. But, once I saw the skin against the orange background I decided to shoot it in color. It was a mistake as simple as that that started this series. From there, later came the Blue Series, the Tan Series, and on from there.

    When I do a portrait, the only thing I plan is the light, the atmosphere; I don’t plan the position of the face or the way to look into the camera. Every person is different, and the way that they react is always different when in front of the camera. For every person there is a different approach. After I had experimented with light quality, background colors, and collecting interesting and intriguing subjects, new series began to emerge. I played around with color and black and white, studio and location, and over the past years have built this archive which has ended up becoming a sort of journal of people I’ve met, places I’ve traveled, and characters who have crossed my path.

    Over the years I have soaked in so much, experienced so many different subjects and melded my style with my subjects, and felt like I’ve been able to create a voice for them. A portrait shoot is more of a psychological tailing, and less of an aesthetic exercise; it’s all about the capturing of moments. When I am interested in someone’s face, someone’s story, the way they walk or even a scar, I get inspired and I want to capture them at that moment, their story, the lives they’ve lived, a soft memento of the living.

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