I’ve been making photographs of people for over a decade. In those early days of learning pictorial lighting, an inanimate model for practice was perfect. Namely, a female polystyrene head. Which I draped with synthetic wigs. Sometimes a brunette long hair wig, alternating with a bob cut short blond wig. This was the beginning of my people photography portraiture business.
Portraiture studio photography
In addition, the polystyrene head model was useful for experimenting with lighting styles. She was patient and her day rate was very affordable. However, she was rigid, and expressionless. After a ton of practice and dedication, I finally became confident with the basics of portrait photography lighting variations, equipment and props. Friends noticed my process and stepped in as models. Eventually, I became a working commercial portrait photographer.
Street portrait photography
Venturing out of the studio, and on to the streets to photograph strangers was a big learning curve. In the beginning, I was very timid. Which was evident in the photographs. Unfortunately, the person in the picture was at best only a third of the photo frame. A poor result. As my confidence and skill improved, I progressed to asking for consent from people for their image. Thus, resulting in a more engaged and intimate street portrait.
Sensitivity to cultures
Before dashing out with your camera in hand it is advisable to do a-little research beforehand on country customs. In particular, residents desire, hesitancy or in fact objections to posing for street portraits. Finally, be considerate and ask the subject’s permission for their picture.
Portraits with permission
The street portrait photographs curated here are portraits made with permission from the subjects. Head over to the ‘Portrait’ gallery for more black and white street portraits.
Artist: Tahnia Roberts ©2017 – 2021
Subject: Street portraiture
Medium: Digital, photo, black and white
Artist country: Malaysia