Symbolic settings add meaning to portraits. (PHOTOCRITIQUE).Most portraits just show smiling people posing before a backdrop. They are little more than superficial descriptions. Portraits made as communication, however, often capture their subjects in action, freezing moments in time that can tell viewers something about the feelings and character of the subjects.
Another kind of communicative portrait, in which subjects are photographed in representative settings, also can be effective. People can look right into the camera, as long as they aren't self-consciously posing. If they display body language that is natural and not forced, and if the settings are appropriately symbolic, such portraits can tell a story. They are called environmental portraits.
Columbia, S.C., photographer Jeff Amberg's portrait of a policeman in front of a house is a good example. The officer's arms rest naturally at the hips. His expression is serious. He does not take his mission lightly. Police work involves security of property. And that's the point the symbolic setting adds to this portrait. SCANA SCANA South Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists
SCANA Self Contained Adverse Night Attack Corporation used this portrait in its quarterly magazine to represent its home security services Security services are state institutions for the provision of intelligence, primarily of a strategic nature, but also including protective security intelligence. Examples include the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) in the United Kingdom, and the . Another look reveals still another symbol -- the SCANA security sign at lower right tells us who is protecting this home, with the help, of course, of the local police.
Sometimes a speaker at a meeting can be photographed as an environmental portrait. In our second example, a NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. scientist (Moffett Field, Calif.) is captured on film as he talks on a technical subject. His fingers are poised to express his ideas -- point by point. But the portrait does not stop there. Behind him are vividly colored projections, which, to a technically oriented audience, may well symbolize the nature of his expertise.
Our third example, opening Allstate Insurance Company's annual report (Northbrook, Ill.), features an environmental portrait of Allstate's CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. incongruously posed in the middle of a lonely, twisting country road, his hands in his pockets. Allstate protects its customers' pockets from financial losses because of dangers of the road. This hazardous stretch, symbolically monitored by the CEO as it curves away around a blind curve into the unknown, represents still another factor resolved by insurance -- the role of uncertainty. In the accompanying text, the CEO says that Allstate is transforming the industry by setting new standards of customer service. This environmental portrait provides context for those words.
Our fourth example offers meaning through a less obvious setting. Debbie Smartt, staff photographer for U.S. Postal Service The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) processes and delivers mail to individuals and businesses within the United States. The service seeks to improve its performance through the development of efficient mail-handling systems and operates its own planning and engineering programs. in Nashville, Tenn., conveys a sense of familial bonding in this environmental portrait of her children. Since she is a photographer by trade, her children are well used to being in front of her camera. She shoots them on the front porch with a medium telephoto lens, perfect for portraiture portraiture, the art of representing the physical or psychological likeness of a real or imaginary individual. The principal portrait media are painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. From earliest times the portrait has been considered a means to immortality. . Using a close vantage point, Smartt surrounds her children with softly focused Victorian wicker furniture, embracing them with generational symbolism. The body language of both children is virtually identical. They seem comfortable with each other. They're in touch. The boy tilts his head, bonding the siblings into a single unit. Smartt has captured her children as she will want to remember them.
Philip N. Douglis, ABC ABC
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. , is director of The Douglis Visual Workshops, now in its 30th year of training communicators in visual literacy Visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read” and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading. . Douglis, an ABC Fellow, is the most widely known consultant on editorial photography for organizations. He offers a comprehensive six-person Communicating with Pictures workshop every May and October in Oak Creek Canyon Oak Creek Canyon is a 12 mile (20 km) long river gorge located along the Mogollon Rim in northern Arizona located between the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona. The canyon is often described as a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon because of its scenic beauty. , near Sedona, Arizona For the Kia Motors Sedona automobile, see Kia Carnival
Sedona (pronounced /səˈdo.nə/) is a city and community that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern . For current openings and registration information, call Douglis at 602-493-6709, or e-mail him at pnd1 @home.com. He also welcomes tearsheets for possible use in this column. Send to The Douglis Visual Workshops, 2505 E. Carol Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85028.