going deep



Question: How many people are involved in a picture?


Answer: At least three. The Photographer/Publisher, the Subject and the Audience.

Samantha by the ZAD | CC BY-NC-SA

Question: Who do you think is the most powerful in this three-way relationship?

Answer: Open ended for discussion but .. the Photographer at the moment of exposure, the Publisher when they share it with the Audience.  And the Subject …? Never.

Sometimes the Photographer and the Publisher are the same person.


Make 4 sets of portraits of one person – one with the a complete scene, one full length, one mid-body, and one very close up.

These are portraits, not pictures. You need to make something that makes the viewer ask questions about the person (your subject), something that gives clues to their personality and the type of person that they are.

Another way to think about this is to get out your ID card. It has a picture of you on it, but does it really reveal your personality? Your interests? Your hopes? Your worries? These portraits should show the things that our ID photo does not.

The four portrait sets we make will be different styles – one with the a complete scene, one full length, one mid-body, and one very close up.

Start by making images that are pulled way back so we can see the whole environment, that might be the whole room or street but we need to get a sense of the location and the subject’s place within it.

by Jonathan Worth | CC BY-NC-SA

by Jonathan Worth

Then start to move in closer and make pictures that are full-length (have the subject’s full head-to-toe body in)  but still give us a sense of the location.

by Jonathan Worth

by Jonathan Worth

Next step is to come in a little closer and make some images that crop/frame the upper half of the subject.


by Jonathan Worth

And finally you’re going to come in really close and make portraits where the subject fills the frame completely and there’s no background. Start by filling the frame with the subject’s head and shoulders, then come in even closer.


In a Nutshell…Make four different portraits of the same person – one with the person in a complete scene, one full length, one mid-body, and one very close-up. Choose an appropriate location for your subject.


#LevelAwesome Make a portrait without the person being in the picture!

There are lots of ways of doing this but here’s a start – empty out your pockets or your bag, wherever you carry all that day to day stuff and ask: what does it say about you? If everyone in the room does this, then the chances are no two people will have exactly the same stuff in front of them. Now take every single little thing and photograph them, either all in one picture or individually but make sure you fill the frame each time. Check out “things organised neatly” and the work of DAVIDE MONTELEONE for inspiration.


Doing and thinking tools suggestions are starting points for you to find ways of doing this activity.

Regular camera apps are fine for this activity but using a tripod or other camera-stand can help to make you slow down and carefully compose the image.



Would you like a digital badge? Go to Pursuitery.com, open an account, submit a sample of your work and claim your badge!

pn-3-tellingsomeonesstoryMy work will explore how:

by including some things within a photographic image I exclude others and this process of
composition (framing) can convey meaning.




Post your Images to Instagram or Flickr with #Phonar and #NationPortrait