Friday, 26 November 2010

Theme 1 - John Swannell

John Swannell stared his photography career as David Baileys assistant. Born in 1946, he left school at 16 and spent a few years in a fleet street dark room churning out thousands of photos for use in the press. After he had secured the post of David Baileys assistant he was thrown into the world of fashion photography. After working with Bailey for a number of years he managed to branch out on his own. David Bailey even gave him a years salary to help him on his way!

 His solo career accelerated when some of his images were used in Italian Vogue and he was launched into the world of fashion photography in his own right. Fashion was always John's main source of income, but from 1975, he was at last able to indulge his own artistic inclinations on a private level. He began to experiment with the female nude, a genre which captivated his imagination and for which he is now particularly renowned.

I love this portrait of Maureen Lipman because of its simplicity. There is no glamour or sparkle, it is simply an honest picture. The 'high key' lighting converted to black and white has produced a wonderfully balanced shot with minimal facial shadow. It has an interesting composition as Maureen is positioned off centre and not looking at the camera. The tone, however, works really well with her dark hair, patterned top and stark background.

This picture of the princess of Wales and her two sons is very informal and relaxed. This style of portraiture allows the true character of the subjects to shine through. It is a style that I have personally adopted during my portrait shoots. It was unusual at the time to have such a relaxed and natural picture of the royal family and must have been a complete breath of fresh air. From this picture in 1994, he has since gone onto to photograph every Senior member of the royal family.

Swannell was commissioned to take this picture to mark the Queens Golden Jubilee. Again, it is unlike traditional portraits in the fact that the Queen, although dressed in formal robes, is posed in a natural way. The positioning of the queen in the picture is original and allows the viewers eye to be drawn into the distance.

This picture of Joanna Lumley in 2000 is again, very natural and un posed. The black of the top has created a silhouette effect. The low key lighting has produced a dramatic and defined effect with obvious shadow to the one side of her face. Her hand breaks up the silhouette effect and creates more detail in the shot.

No comments:

Post a Comment