Identity and Place: Exercise 1.2 – Background as context | Phil Long's Photo Blog
In this exercise the task was initially to look at the portraits of August Sander and write down my thoughts on his work. I reviewed a number of his portraits and they all have a consistent style to them in terms of the subjects being posed against their background in a fairly flat way, they typically offer little in the way of the dynamic in terms of facial expression and the poses seem very forced even when they are meant to imply some kind of action. The subjects seem to generally be in clothing which also reinforces their role in society, most typically their job. Whether this is deliberate or not I think various - for his images that depict those who don't "conform" to normal society I feel they look more likely to be what they normally wear, without any input from Sander's. There are a mixtures of background at play, from studio with very little, to those where the background does tell part of the story and that's what I've focused on here, given the nature of this exercise.
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