Portrait-phobia: a reflection

I have always been petrified, and admittedly a little bit repulsed, by the notion of shooting portraits in a studio setting. After three weeks doing just this, I felt it important to reflect on my reasons for feeling this way and face my portrait-phobia as I embark on my latest project. I have featured a couple of my own photographs within this article – although these; you can also see my reflections on a selection of portraits which I have found inspiration in recently on my blog.

It’s probably already been done?

Oftentimes, I formulate an idea or a concept for a shoot, only to end up crippled by my inner voice who is adamant that such work has already been done (and probably done better). Cushioned safely in the bosom of Instagram and LensCulture, I often end up telling myself that I have no original ideas and should just leave it to the professionals. Attempting to avoid clichés seems to have become part-and-parcel of my everyday life.

Chanelle Manton. Tamara (2016)

Triangles are quickly becoming my least favourite shape

Only recently through workshop sessions did I truly realise how much skill I lack in my technical knowledge of photography. This has subsequently leant itself to a general feeling of incapability and a lack of confidence in my ability to take pictures. A necessary lesson, but a difficult one – ‘point and shoot’ was never going to be a sustainable approach. However, I have realised that exposure to such experiences are key (pun intended) to the learning process. Triangles help too (kind of).

Chanelle Manton. Tamara (2016)

But…who am I?

A debilitating question. Carefully constructing a photo in a studio setting is something I have practically no experience in, always thriving off spontaneity and candidness in my work. I love taking photographs of people, yet the notion of doing so in a studio feels daunting and enough to put me off my breakfast. Knowing what I want to say, and communicating effectively through my work, is something I aim to develop through my practice this year.

Tamara, 2016
Chanelle Manton. Tamara (2016)

Ultimately, I think I got too comfortable in my comfort zone, and have consequently felt a loss of mojo in my work recently. I am looking forward to embarking on a new endeavour in my practice facing my fear of portrait photography through confident, committed practice and further self-reflection.



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