Diane Arbus has often been criticized for her aggressive photographic style. Among other things her critics insisted that she stood far too close to her subjects when she took their photograph. The critics preached that she often violated her subjects personal space.
Head and shoulder portraits are perceived as intimate. The viewer is pulled into the subjects personal space as if suddenly drawn into a conversation. “What are you thinking? What are you feeling?”
Full-length portraits present the subject in context. The environment within which the portrait is taken plays an important role in the portrayal of the subject. The viewing experience is less cerebral. The viewer is more likely to wonder what the subject is doing rather than what they are thinking or feeling.
My neighbour was kind enough to let me take this portrait. A photographer himself we chatted for an hour about the joys of analogue photography. Tony had no problem letting me move within the limits of his personal space. He knows the code to open my garage door. We trust each other.
So, if I were to guess…
What is Tony thinking? That he hasn’t seen a Hasselblad 500c in a very long time.
What is Tony feeling? Hungry. I was keeping him from his supper.
A cerebral viewing experience? Perhaps not.
Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 120 f4 CF Makro-Plannar
Ilford HP5, ISO 400