Jasmine Leal- inspiration of Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey’s photographs of the high school students capture their expressions especially with their eyes; making it seem as though they are looking directly at you. He also captured not only their expressions especially with their eyes but also depending on the subject a part of them that shapes their characteristics as an individual. For example, the girl with the colorful nails and outfit; even though when looking at photographs that have a lot of information to take in especially of rooms that has objects it can be distracting to what the photographer wants to capture; but Bey’s approach on his subjects and thinking how to make the settings of the school work with the subjects he was able to make it work, the settings his subjects were placed in complimented and balanced as a photograph as a whole. From what I can see from Dawoud Bey’s photographs, is that taking a subject’s photo, communication and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera is important. One may have the equipment, a subject, the right lighting and how they would want to direct one’s photograph but if the subject doesn’t feel as though they are in a state of ease and comfortable in their setting and with the photographer the photograph won’t be executed to its potential. Looking at his works and watching his interview, he made me question how can I communicate with my subjects? How can I make them feel comfortable to be in front of the camera? what makes them stand out as an individual? What part of them would I like to capture? What sort of setting would I like my subject to be in? His approach to portrait photography from what I can see involves observation, communication, patience, directing and notably a persons gestures.

1 thought on “Jasmine Leal- inspiration of Dawoud Bey

  1. rmichals

    I can teach you lighting technique but what I can’t teach anyone is how to interact with another human being. It is really important to feel some empathy for your subject. What is he or she feeling and how does he or she want to be seen? That is the place to start.


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