Glum is the new Black – A new movement in Portraiture.

 

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I find myself thinking back back back to my childhood self.

So, I was small, with short dark hair, and I looked like a boy.

Old men would stop me in shops ( I would have been about 8 ) and call me ‘Sonny’. and tell me to be polite and hold the door open. I was either called ‘Sonny’ or ‘Smiler’. ‘Sonny’ because I looked like a boy – (thanks Mom and Dad for the convenience of the short de rigueur haircut), and ‘Smiler’ because I always had a gap toothed grin or smile. I also had scabby knees and an occasional cheeky/naughty attitude.  Never one of the pretty ones, but then with scabby knees and a gap toothed grin it just wasn’t going to happen. I was painfully aware of this from an early age (having a gorgeous baby sister)  –  It didn’t bother me because I concluded ugliness (read that as quirkiness) was fine because I had that thing called ‘personality’ and ‘it would get me far in life’.

 

When I was in my teens with longer hair and no longer called ‘Sonny’ or for that matter ‘Smiler’, I would go to parties and clubs, with a well practiced, neutral disinterested look. I remember people (older) saying  – ‘give us a smile – it can’t be that bad’ – Now that always annoyed me, and would take me from a peaceful neutral space to cross in an instant.

 

SO again I concluded that maybe my smiling habit was a result of truly looking miserable when I was thinking, or dreaming about nothing in-particular. It is because I looked so sad with out trying.

 

Now I am deviating, but maybe getting onto the heart of this post.

I have a penchant for sad or thoughtful faces – maybe sad is the wrong word to use, but neutral doesn’t work either, and blank really doesn’t cut it. I feel they are so much more telling when taking a portrait of someone. They make me feel something, and hopefully this translates through to the client who has commissioned the portrait. There is beauty there, unforced, natural, thoughtful. A behind the mask look.

The communication is all behind the eyes. Intelligent and thoughtful, no blank stare or crazy photographer smile. Just a moment of thought, focus, concentration and contemplation. 

 

I like to think that I take a portrait and whilst in the process establish and build a rapport /relationship with my subject. The result being that the photograph (which is after all more commonly nowadays an exercise in pixels ) becomes a portrait, and that one can see behind the smile or the photo-look that people do if they feel selfconcious or uncomfortable.

 

Sometimes I look at my stream of images and because I am so intent on capturing the neutrality that exposes the character, I look at my images and see a whole lot of glum!

 

So that where I get to my unique selling point! It was bespoke, emotional, high-end. Now it is capturing the misery of our daily lives, through a series of glum expressions and photographs.

Glum is the new black.

Love to you all on a Tuesday night.

Carolyn x

addendum : I love photographing happiness and natural smiles too! Just attracted to the glum x

 

4 responses to “Glum is the new Black – A new movement in Portraiture.

  1. I get it, I totally get it. I tend to notice this “glum” look on people’s faces when they are traveling alone in their car. No performing for the masses, just deep in thought. In their own world. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I like glum faces too. It’s difficult though as people are so used to smiley pics that some will look at them and say, it would be nice if she was smiling though, eh?

    As I have been taking photographs for drama productions recently, specifically one where the woman has just lost her children, the images needed to convey a distraught, lost look. It’s tricky when the actors tend to have a fit of the giggles or are busy chatting happily to their colleagues!

    Some faces light up when they smile, whereas some are better with some other emotion behind the eyes. I love your moody portraits as they make you think a little more about the back story.

    We must meet up and have our idea/technique swapping session soon when you are not too busy!

    • Maybe I should have used the term ‘thoughtful’ , because that is what they are. Very alive in their thoughtfulness.

      I do make sure that I listen to my lovely clients though, and if someone is naturally very smiley – that will always come through.

      Absolutely would love to meet and skill share. January may be good x

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