Monthly Archives: September 2018

Richard Avedon and Jonathan Mannion

Richard Avedon was a well known portrait and fashion photographer. He’s photographed people like Gloria Vanderbilt and Marilyn Monroe. His portrait style is very unique. From looking at his work, it’s very expressive. His photographs definitely capture the moment. He liked shooting in black and white. His photos show very strong contrasts between the light and dark areas.

Jonathan Mannion had the honor to work under Avedon as his assistant. He was able to observe the psychological connection between Avedon and his subjects. Mannion’s love for hip hop and pop culture really helped to create portraits that personified many recognized names in the business. Looking at Mannion’s work, it is apparent that there is a similar style to his portraits. He also shot in black and white and had very strong contrasts. There’s a lot of dimension and kind of harshness (not in a bad way) of using such contrasts. It brings the subject matter forwards. It has a dramatic effect as well as a grungy look, kind of very in your face and like “I’m not intimidated by anybody” look. In addition, it also highlights the higher points on a subjects face to capture certain shadows. The portrait of Jay Z is a prime example of Mannion using Avedon’s portrait style. It’s very high contrast, not only seen in his face but in his outfit. His outfit is black and white. In his face, you can see the shadows under his brow bone, under the eyes, bottom and side of his nose, and under his lip on his chin. They aren’t unflattering shadows help to emphasize the particular features.



Avedon & Mannion

Richard Avedon was a well-renowned photographer. He is known for his fashion photography and portraits. Most of Avedon’s work can easily be recognized because he has a very unique style of photography. Most of his work has very similar qualities to them. Avedon’s portraits are usually black and white. They have very high contrast. There is even lighting in most of his portraits. Avedon also shoots against a white background. He does a great job at separating his subject from the background.

Jonathan Mannion had the privilege of assisting Richard Avedon during his career as a photographer. He went on to photograph many famous people in hip-hop as well as other icons. It’s safe to say that Mannion has applied what he’s learned from Avedon to his photography. Mannion photographed Jay-Z in such a way that seems similar to Avedon’s style of portraits. You can see he uses a white background with even lighting. The picture has very high contrast because of Jay-Z’s suit, scarf, and hat. His attire forms the whole shape of the photo. Jay-Z is also looking at the camera. Mannion’s portraits don’t all have the similar styles like Avedon but you can see most of them have the subject looking at the camera. This is something that Avedon’s portraits also have. It seems that Mannion may have also learned the importance of capturing the eyes when shooting.

Demi Moore and Beyonce

Well, I want to start off by saying both these women looked absolutely fantastic in both of these photographs and still do. They were both shots during their pregnancy and they were both positioned similarly, except that Demi was standing up as opposed to Beyonce who was sitting down. Demi’s was very natural and dramatic with no props and a solid color backdrop whereas, Beyonce’s is colorful and more embellished. Beyonce’s has a floral throne with a sky backdrop.

Demi’s was shot in 1991 by Annie Leibovitz, which was a time where shooting nude in such a manner was “indecent”. Leibovitz idea of shooting this was to combat societies value of thinness by showing the uncomfortable, distorted (not in a terrible way) female form when pregnant. To show that beauty comes in other forms too not just what society deems as “perfect”. This photograph is very natural and raw. It was shot to make women feel empowered and feel free. Leibovitz used Rembrandt lighting. You can see the triangle shown on her right cheek. The shadows help to illuminate the face and parts of the body, like the belly. The lighting adds a more dramatic effect. One arm was positioned over her breast while the other was over her belly. They are both positioned in a way that says, “this is my body and I am not ashamed”. Her head tilted slightly and her eyes looking up shows confidence, that there is no reason for her to look down or feel any less.

On the other hand, Beyonce’s photograph was shot in 2017 by Awol Erizku, during a time where the feminist movement was making waves and great strides in women equality. Beyonce wasn’t completely nude like Demi was. Both her arms were positioned over her belly. Unlike Demi, Beyonce was looking directly at the camera straight on. The photograph seems to be taken with front lighting. There doesn’t seem to be as much dimension to this photo compared to Demi’s. I feel like the use of all the props and background deter from the subject herself but that’s just my two cents.

Yousuf Karsh and Nadav Kander

Yousuf Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian photographer from the 20th century who is known for his portraiture of notable individuals like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth, etc. For Yousuf Karsh, his main focus is to capture one’s inward power. To capture their true sense of self, not the mask they put on for others. The portrait that I love the most from Karsh is of Audrey Hepburn 1956. I absolutely love and adore her and her movies. She was not only an actress but also a humanitarian. This portrait is actually one of my favorites of her. I’ve used it in one of the projects I did on her. I like that she isn’t looking directly at the camera with her eyes looking down. It not only captures her elegance but her sincerity as well. The way this photo is captured has a sense of intimacy being shot so up close. His portraits provide a more intimate glimpse and insight to some of the most outstanding personalities of our time.

Nadav Kander is still a working photographer who is known for his portraits and landscapes. Unlike Karsh who wanted to capture one’s true self, Kander captures his own through his work. His work has a sense of direction. His strong belief is that nothing is out of bounds. Looking at his portraits, they are very unconventional. The tone of his solitary portrait series is very cool toned. His use of light, props, expression, and posture add to the theme of being alone and isolated. The people he chose for this series were quite interesting. I think these people fit his solitary vision. There are a few that I really liked. Two of them were slightly similar, Eddie Redmayne, Forest, 2016 and Rosamund Pike II, 2015. I liked how he incorporated the forest shadow as an overlay. It gives me the idea that they’re one with nature or that humans are these creatures of habit.

Both of these two photographers are pretty admirable. There is one who wants to capture the true essence and rawness of a person, and then you have one who isn’t bound by convention and what a normal portrait should look like but rather what it can become. What I want to emulate in the upcoming portrait assignments are a bit of both. I want to follow my own artistic direction along with one’s true self. I hope that makes sense.

Demi Moore and Beyonce

I think there’s more difference than similarities between Demi Moore’s and Beyoncé’s maternal shoot. First is the time these were shot. They are almost two decades apart. Demi Moore’s photo is simple and minimal but it is very strong. It’s only the subject’s nude body and the plain background. There is no distraction. I like lighting as well. It highlights the different areas of here body and it’s easier to see on a bare skin. This photo was controversial at the time because this photo was taken in 1991 and the world was completely different than how it is now. They thought different and this was basically new to them. Especially how women were viewed back then and this photo broke the norm. This photo would’ve been easily accepted today. May be if the photos were switched with its time, it would’ve matched. Beyoncé’s photo isn’t strong as Demi Moore’s to me. Beyoncé has lots of props and there are lots of colors which creates distraction but I like the playfulness. I like the composition and the pose. I like that the subject is centered on this photo and it works well and the light is equally distributed. On Demi’s photo, she’s is off centered and it is quite pleasing to the eye in this composition. Her pose is perfect. I like that she tilted her head up a bit and didn’t look straight in the camera. This picture looks even better in the vanity fair magazine.  

Yusuf karsh and Nadav Kander

Yousef Karsh is known to be one of the greatest portrait photographer of 20th century. He shot portraits of many renowned celebrities, leaders and scientists. He worked with large format cameras. He used tungsten lights during his shoot because it was easier for him how the photo would come out before he even shot the picture. He only worked with one assistant wherever he was because he didn’t want anybody to disturb his concentration to his subject. He preferred to take portraits of people in their own environment where they can be natural. He would then consider the subjects body languages, gestures and facial expression to capture their personality in the picture.  

Nadav Kander is another Known Portrait photographer born in 1961. His works appear in popular magazines like time, rolling stone, New York time. His idea of keeping the props and background simple matches with Yousef Karsh. Looking at his work, they don’t look like regular portraits. They have a underlying creative idea. They look more of a fine art portraiture. The use of lighting are very dramatic because of the harsh shadows.  

I like Sir Winston Churchill portrait by Yousef Karsh. I read the story behind this photo thought it was quite interesting. Yousef Karsh perfectly snapped this portrait right after he snatched Churchill’s cigar.  The picture came out perfect. The pose, the expression, the lights is on point.  I like how the light is focused on the face with a shadow on the edge of his face.  

I like Barack Obama’s portrait by Nadav Kander. I like the black and white contrast. It adds drama and mysterious mood. This portrait doesn’t approach the subject for what everybody knows him as but approaches in personal level more like who he is as a regular man.

Demi Moore & Beyonce

These two portraits are of different celebrities during their pregnancy. One is Demi Moore and the other is Beyonce. Demi Moore was photographed by Annie Leibovitz and Beyonce was photographed by Awol Erizku. Demi Moore’s was photographed against a solid background. She is standing and is completely nude. She isn’t looking directly at the camera, she is looking up. The lighting used was broad light. It looks like there may also have been some light above her to show her hair and additional lighting used to bring out her body. The colors are very warm/earth tones. There are some shadows but not too sharp. There is a soft gradient in the background. This is an older portrait that was on the cover of a magazine.

Beyonce’s portrait has more elements in its composition than Demi Moore’s. Beyonce is in a seated posture and she isn’t completely nude. She is photographed against a very colorful and floral background. Her body isn’t towards the camera but her head is. You can see she is looking directly at the camera. The lighting used in this shoot is front light and maybe some fill light. There is overall even lighting used in this shoot. There aren’t many shadows. There are much more colors in this portraits than in Demi Moore’s. Since this was taken in the recent years, it was published on social media instead of a magazine. Both portraits capture a milestone in each subjects life. They also show the differences in the time period with the different compositions and form of publication.

Yousuf Karsh and Nadav Kandar

Yousuf Karsh and Nadav Kandar are two photographers who have documented some of the many faces of historical figures throughout our lifetime.  Karsh was actively documenting public figures and icons through the 20th century, and Kandar began shooting in the mid to late 20th Century to present day.  Both of them use exciting and dramatic lighting that really help evoke emotion as well as mood and are great tools to be aware of in one’s own photography.


Yousuf’s photos are primarily shot in black and white and for that matter are very contrasty which emphasize the shadows on his subjects very well.  The shadows seem to really highlight the subjects facial expression and really gives them a specific identity. His photo of Nelson Mandela really emulates exactly how one could imagine Nelson Mandela being.  He is a positive and glowing icon. And that is how Karsh manages to capture him. There is backlighting sort of glowing off of his shoulders that gives off this angelic feel. Mandela is posed with his head resting on his hand and he has a relaxed smile on his face.  The lighting highlights his smile and cheeks which emphasize his friendliness and caring attitude. It sort of captures a overall mood of optimism and hope.


It is almost as if Nadav picks up where Yousuf has left off.  He continues to document our present day icons but this time bringing in a new dimension which is color.  Color can really evoke mood and emotion and Nadav has done so in using color in his portraits. Using washed out blues in some of his portraits bring in an element of cool gloominess.  His portrait of Obama has similar characteristics to Yousuf’s photo of Mandela. Using a sort of glowing backlight to give a highlight to the figure. Obama is facing down and you are only getting a side view of his face.  Obama has a stern and concerned look on his face. It is as if the photograph is trying to speak on how 8 year of serving the United States has aged him.


Yousuf Karsh & Nadav Kander

Yousuf Karsh is a 20th Century photographer who photographed well renowned individuals. Looking at his portraits, it seems that Karsh used light to distinguish each subject’s personality. There is a difference in emotion with subjects of different professions. You could tell the lifestyle of the sitter just by looking at Karsh’s portraits. For example, the portrait of Joan Crawford is more playful than Albert Einstein’s. You can Joan Crawford’s full body and she is in an unusual pose that shows her holding a cigarette. The backlight is more prominent that Einstein’s. This makes her look luxurious, whereas Einstein looks like serious and like someone who intellectual. Karsh depicts the lifestyle of his subjects well and doesn’t choose lighting just because it looks good. The one portrait that I would like to emulate is his portrait of Barbara Ann Scott. I like that he chooses to use long exposure to show movement which makes sense being that the subject is a figure skater.

Nadav Kander is a photographer that is still working today. I would his style of photography as bold. I see that he is not afraid to characterize his subjects in certain moods. Kander seems like the type of photographer that likes to experiment with as much ideas and then finalize the one that best suites his vision. I don’t he focuses much on the lifestyle of the subject like Karsh, but he uses light to evoke more emotions. Kander also positions his subject in a not so traditional way. Some of his subjects are facing away from him or looking at something else besides the camera. The one portrait that I would like to emulate is Florence Welch. The lighting is very elegant and bold at the same time.



Dawned bey – Class pictures

Dawoud bey has a simple yet sophisticated style when it comes to his portrait photography. Sophisticated as in his uses of the poses, lighting, expression, and composition which gives a very natural feel with a bit of drama. In his series of class pictures, the subjects cover most of the composition with a softly blurred background that gives a hint of the place where the picture was taken. He doesn’t shoot his subjects on a flat background. Each of the pictures on this collection has a space behind the subject which gives viewers a sense of perspective.

The expression on each of the subject is quite unique. Each expression tells a different story. Their expression also directs the mood of the picture. Their expression and their poses add drama to the picture. Dawoud bey said he had only 45 minutes to work with the students so he had to think through everything quickly. At the start of 45 minutes, students were told to write a brief statement about themselves. when he took the pictures he didn’t tell the students to pose. He told the students just sit where they are directed be comfortable and Dawoud bey would carefully watch their gestures. Bey used studio lights to control the lighting component of the picture. He used the main light and a fill light to soften the shadows on the sides. the main light is coming through between the front and the side of the face. The one side of the face looks well lit and another side of the face has a soft shadow.