A little while ago I started to do some with in collaboration with a Therapy Centre in Banbury. Partly to do with the course, partly to get involved with an organisation i.e. to start building up a new network. I had documented some of their therapy spaces and they clearly liked what I had done as they asked me to quote to do some portraits of their therapists and staff as they rebuild their marketing data. The Centre is due to have a birthday celebration very soon and wanted to refresh their web-site and generate new brochures.

After agreeing the price (and re-agreeing a new price after the brief became extended) I decided that a very simple two softbox set-up would probably work. The centre wanted the portraits to be consistent and I didn’t get long to take the images as they were often in between clients or travelling to get to the centre in order to have their portrait taken. One of their consulting rooms provided a fairly plain wall, and I was concerned that I needed to get images that were as ‘soft’ as possible. Soft in the sense that they needed to appear approachable – as one of them said during their session – “I want a potential client to look at my picture and feel they can talk to me”. Oh and the last session was today at 1pm and the artwork needed to be completed and sent to the printers by 4pm. No pressure then.

Staff and Therapists

Staff and Therapists

Quite fortuitously for this exercise the twenty portraits sat very well in a matrix. I’m not sure about the result, about what it might be saying – very happy that they all seem to be fairly ‘Soft” despite one of them saying that they would rather have had their eyes gouged out and boiled in oil than sit for a portrait, only one or two were happy to have their picture taken – most were resigned to the fact. I had a couple of ‘glasses’ moments when I had to remove them (rather than just tilt them down) to reduce or remove the glare from the flash units or windows. I had no real control over the timing – some were done at 9am some were done at 2pm, so outside light was ‘up and down’!

Quite pleased with the result though I’m not sure what it says about the subjects……

As an aside their website gets something like 4000 hits per week and they will put a link to my website. Though what the viewers will think looking at a therapy centre one moment and the Rockie Mountains the next I have no idea. However I know I must find time and consideration to renew my web-site as it has sat moribund for the past two years.


2 thoughts on “Portraits

  1. And so the work goes on, including on your own behalf. Maybe one day I’ll have my own website when I’ve something I think is good enough.
    They do all look approachable. Interestingly I was having a conversation with my daughter today re some portrait shots of her boys. She didn’t like that they looked so serious, not ‘natural’ and said she wanted to see pictures of them as they really are. Of course, I explained a little about ‘portraiture’ etc but she wasn’t having any of that.
    I suppose there are some psychotherapists who favour the deadpan presentation but if I want someone to confide in then I think ‘natural’ is best when I’m looking at them.

  2. Ha Ha! Do you think Mum’s are the best guides to how their children look? All portraits are representative, all portraits are unrepresentative.

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