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Fine Art Women's Portraits

Lesson 2 of 17

Composition and Posing Process

Jennifer Thoreson

Fine Art Women's Portraits

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

2. Composition and Posing Process

Lesson Info

Composition and Posing Process

I just want to show you a few it's a collection of favorites images and we can talk through this little bit us we're going way we're gonna do a water session as I mentioned earlier I'm really interested in the cleansing purposes of water and what that symbolized isn't like a baptism when I've learned about myself is that I'm not as interested in what makes people individuals it's not they don't care about that but it's not what I'm most interested in when I'm most interested in is what makes us all same so when I look at women I don't I'm not necessarily interested in hearing their life story or you know something that's happened to them the past year no it's good and it does make a difference but more than anything I'm trying to figure out how we're the same how we operate as women what we all struggle with what we're all hoping for looking for where the balance is where the breaking point is in all women it's a big mystery to me and I hope I never figure it out because that's what I'...

m looking for in my work I'm interested in women's sexuality how they show that all on their own without me forcing it on them I'm interested in that that little bit of innocents and child likeness that I think every woman has I'm interested in that inevitable strength every single woman has and where it fails I am interested in beauty and I see beauty and everybody on all these women I believe you're beautiful I don't think of these as beauty portrait but I'm really interested in how that beauty translates when I'm making a photograph I'm attracted to annoy idea of frailty so opposed where someone literally almost like a broken doll right that kind of that moment in your heart were not holding together very well how do I put that on paper or strength often you know it's just I'm really intrigued by physical feature of a woman too like a long neck incredible physical strength e I like to make quiet pictures still things so while there may be a lot of intensity in there and people you know may be trying to figure out something it's pensive or something like that they're still why and I think a lot of that comes from it's the physical way a photograph and then I'd like to flatten out the background a little bit I like monochromatic things soft colors square format but it's also I'm hoping somewhere in that body and face that you spent some time with her for a minute so approaching human subjects so I believe really ninety nine point seven percent that's a good number percent of what I do comes from the way I talk to people in the way I approach the subject in the photograph and I do I mean I understand technique and I know how to push the button and get the right exposure and all that but that doesn't matter so much if it's in the approach how I communicate with these people um the first thing is body awareness so if I'm not aware of my own body first of all I'm in trouble I'm going to try to photograph a woman especially in the way that I do photograph women so I've learned this over the years by first I put myself in these poses you know that that's where it all started I've taken yoga classes things like that so I'm aware of how these things feel when I'm supporting all my own weight on my arms or something like that I like the way that translates to an emotional idea of supporting yourself on not very much right it's it's a balance issue but if I physically do it then I can have empathy for my subject I have an idea of what it actually feels like um runners dancers all those people have extreme body awareness knowing what these things physically do to your body I considered absolutely awareness so when I have a subject in front of me and I'm asking her to do something it's I'm empathizing with her the entire time I know what it would feel like even if I know I can't physically do what she's doing it I'm aware of her body very aware for body body analysis the second part of that equation so like this this particular woman was six foot tall and tiny right long long limbs long tour so long legs and arms pretty rare actually um so when I analyze her form in her body I'm not only analyzing the way she looks but I'm thinking you know flexibility strength you know how far can I push this girl because I am interested in that limit and I will push somebody to the point where I know I'm at that limit and they were about to fall apart and take the picture and that's what I'm after but I have to know in order to do that where that point's going to be if I push somebody passed that point then we start to enter into a kind of an idea of failure a feeling of failure I don't want that so it's important that I analyzed her correctly do the very best I can I mean there's this whole thing of body shapes right I photograph a lot of these kind of people because I do a lot of photographs of models and I do enjoy it I'll admit because I have a lot of length to play with and all kinds of cool things I could do with a torso that back the limbs that kind of thing tall thin beanpole type figure you have people that are hourglass more kirby here and here right people want more weight here that round of people here all that stuff is important to look at and start to figure out first of all what can I do as faras form not just strengthen flexibility but the forms you know I don't want to push somebody that's more of an apple shape and we just have to keep it real I mean some people are heavier than others I wouldn't put myself and most the positions that I put someone like this in it's not an idea of flattery either I don't really care about flattery which we'll talk about later it is the form beautiful isn't interesting are the line's clean so height right height is wicked important if I have somebody that six foot tall even if they're heavier I've got length to work with body masters we talked about torso in leg length I love to play with people's torsos to me most of the energy of the photograph comes right here from right here in the back and the waist so there's all kinds of cool bendy lines and a lot of energy where someone's kind of holding on you know right here that's where I start everything are milling so I do a lot of stuff with his arms are up and over right I can't I've had a girl a couple weeks ago that could do the reach her shoulder on the other side I clearly can't do that but you know I can see that somebody else can and that's body awareness I can play with those things really interesting features nach links which is important if you're doing a profile sure but it's also important if you're doing some kind of crazy pose somewhere when you need the link I'm going to try to touch her forehead to a toast right is it going to be beautiful or it could be a struggle for her and look crazy right flexibility and strength so I'd have an athlete I'm gonna push her more in that direction supporting herself on a small part of her body something that's right I have somebody who's a ballerina taught tall thin type you know he was not a strong I might focus more flexibility and you know some interesting designs in the body they don't use as much strength in toronto went really long neck so this is not in for cult pose it just being able to see that feature and capitalize on it I think much of our jobs portrait artist is really analyze the person in front of you physically I think sometimes we get caught too much in tell me why you're here did you have a moving experience last year that kind of thing that's important but if you can't translate it physically then who cares we have a look at the body the look at the face that this model was very thin but shorts was probably about five three so rather than folding her up into tiny little balls and all kinds of tucking and rolling I kept her more you know out the limbs are out the bodies out long lines long diagonals things that are not to me she is supporting some way and it is not an easy pose and it pushes her limit same idea with this girl short this girl was amazing athlete incredible runner feels like perfect let's work with that she had a long body was also really strong so I started out with a couple things like this is showing she's got some beautiful curves that kind of thing I want to push the limit you push your here is she supporting all their weight just here she's hardly on the chair at all and then what that does is it shows tension in the body it shows that moment that that bit where you're about to fall apart I'm interested in that kind of thing showing the physical strength of her body so this is beth one of my favorite models ever if you're out there tall thin that kind of thing is going to use their arms this is another dancer back up but she's a lot more petite so I'm gonna keep her stretch down a bit more long thin girl long torso so I can't really work this area and make an interesting shape out of it I would not do this with somebody that's an apple shape because you're gonna have ah too much weight right here it's too thick this is the same girl I showed you with the leaf earlier so she can I can't do that if I try it looks crazy and it looks like I'm struggling even if I force myself to do it it doesn't have the easiness of this house girl beautiful girl curve your girl right so I'm not going to do this with her it's not going to be a pretty line this is a similar gesture and it's still beautiful and the lines or a lot more pleasing and then we get to show off this gorgeousness here without folding or too much another curve your girl stretching out this girl had an incredible face that I couldn't get away from I did so much of her just with her hands up by your face because it was so captivating this girl's a preteen like age thirteen or so small I'm keeping opposing simple really wicked tall girl like six foot tall she didn't have a lot of flexibility so like this pose the one on the left it's a nice gesture I like the gesture I wouldn't force her into something you know crazier it wasn't gonna work and she was going to struggle and it was going to look that way with our arms up there I'm not gonna try to overlap from too far she doesn't have the flexibility just like I don't this is her to sew the chair pose that I showed you earlier of the girl the athletic girl really pushing the edge of that you were this girl I wouldn't do that with her it's not gonna work and it's gonna look crazy on another tall girl so I can play with this again so it's about knowing the body right and I can't just look at someone and go oh athlete you know flexible that no I make I'm not magic I just observe and I see how she's responding to what I'm saying to her so a lot of that is being quiet and still and waiting to see it if you're always in control and you're the puppet master of the whole time I'm going to make this picture I'm going to do all the work it's all about me I've done it you are my little wooden doll over there you'll never see it ever you have to let her respond to you and start to see how she moves naturally I've been watching these models all morning to see how they move to see how they sit see how what they dio naturally on their own and when I start photographing him later I'm going to start with some easy poses and start pushing pushing pushing pushing and seeing where we can go right so I think to look into of course I mentioned yoga something that's great about yoga too is you consent to the cues of the instructor sometimes there's a really useful to understand how they relate to their own body and try to translate it for you to do it with your body isn't that what we're doing with portrait's I'm trying to communicate something to this girl that I can see in my head perfectly well how do I tell her to do it you will help you a lot with that watching dancers will help you a lot with that seeing first of all what's even possible with the human body it's knowing what's cape what's what's even in there knowing that I can been somebody back this far the back will allow it but also just seeing form and shape figure drawing classes are great for that too if you're really trying to figure out how the body works you start with this skeleton and you add muscle and so you understand where you fold where we bend that kind of thing it's really good to know so then once you're aware of that so if you could be purposeful in your posing what that means is I'm not fishing when imposing this girl that I have a clear vision of where I'm headed and I'm like I'm not like whom I kind of like that but what if we tried that that's not really working I hate that I don't want that to happen ever and we'll talk about why in a minute so formally when I'm looking for in a body is balance shape so shape meaning to me she's like an oval which is different than form which is this that's the form length and when I say length that means this leg is this far over toward the wall as it can possibly beaks that makes the line longer versus having a late coming out this way toward the camera what makes it shorter little tiny things making her look as long as I possibly can movement this has movement to it I feel like she's kind of moving in that direction right energy and gesture I love gesture we can get the hands to say something when the body is a gesture it's it's moving toward on idea of an emotion I like that so formally you know this is totally symmetrical and I like that I like the little the wing is kind of broken bird kind of effect and all that I like the gesture of it but formally it's just it's easy symmetrical pope this is a triangle right it's a really pleasing shape to look at she still has movement gesture in there but overall it's a triangle overall left the noble right and I think it does send some signals emotionally and all that but it's also pleasing to look at as a shape it's a nice a little shame all right so this is a square shaped body right onto the camera and I tend to never turn people off camera by the way except screws up shape I know we've been taught to always turns one into that salt erm square to the camera so I can see this base strong with base and then as a movement to it again symmetry gesture so I like the idea of a pose that might be interesting but adding a little hand gesture to it and jester also never tell people what to do with her face I don't say don't smile or power I don't know think of somebody you know I hear all kinds of interesting things and people trying to get expression the best thing to do is build intensity so it's intense and there's a lot going on and the face shows that I don't have to ask for an expression if I have been asked for expression I'm in trouble I've done something wrong so spiritual I think a visual language so that means well in the gaze those two things kind of together what it means as the viewer is looking at the photograph so the gaze of the viewer and also the gaze of the subject is interesting to me so is there this one there isn't one she's looking off camera so when the viewer looks at her what is the gays you know we in our talk about all the time the male gaze and the female gaze and all that stuff and it's interesting to think about actually who's looking and what it might mean intention what is my intention isn't genuine is it complex so is it not just a pretty picture I don't want to just make pretty pictures everybody makes pretty pictures who cares I want to make a pretty picture that means something and value is it valuable to her it is a valuable to me and I mean that in a sense of the actual physical document the photograph and the experience to of making it we talked a lot about already bodily empathy so I'm trying to put myself in her position and you'll see what I'm photographing all actually when I'm trying to get her to do that I will do it with her to try teo empathize a little bit and and give her some signals and also don't just assume that she could do it or that she should do it because she's a model I'm asking her politely from my heart toe work with me on this and see if we can get there so this thing of limits like when I think about what I'm photographing somebody and I think everybody can identify with his experience of oh my gosh she's gonna hate me if I asked her to stay there one more minute or she's tired I could see it I should I should probably you know or it's taking too long it's it's too hard for her that kind of thing so I tend to push people past that and what that takes us trust we're gonna get into that in a minute some things that I've been able to look in my process and think that's not me that's not me that's not me is this whole idea of feminine masculine I couldn't possibly care less it's feminine I'm not after a feminine poles sometimes they look feminine whatever that actually means that people say that to me all the time right oh it's so feminine it's so feminine okay but that's not what I'm after I don't care about that um or flattery right I don't care if it's flattering I care if it's interesting and there's a big difference you know where well what if her arm looks bad or something like that if her arm looks fat the form probably isn't very good those two things kind of go hand in hand and the surface like manipulated sexuality so what that means to me is there's a sexuality in my work absolutely but I want that to come from her I don't want to impose it on her so what I'm trying to do is watch her and see like I photographed a girl a little while ago who is fourteen or fifteen that's not really there yet it's starting to be and it's really awkward really interesting right but I'm not gonna put her in some crazy and she had the body for when I proposed I wanted but I wouldn't put her in the chair pose with the chest out it's just not it's not appropriate for her that's forced to me or certain costuming and things like that I'd rather just let that happen on its own so rather than say it's sexy right which yeah it is but I'd rather say its victorious balance strong confident opener spirited this is the girl was talking about the young girl so instead of feminine I rather think it's quiet him invulnerable youthful or guarded rage is assured resilient secure and willful home thoughtful meditative emerging searching hopeful now I don't expect you guys to see that those exact words but if I can work in that way it'll translate to her so what all of this is headed toward was this his idea of communication getting to know her a little bit um anything interesting thing when I was trying to pull apart this process and rip it out at the scene to figure out how I do what I do the only touch became really important um I was in this ups store a while back and I was headed to I was mailing out a card to a friend whose husband had died and I couldn't go to the funeral and I loved him he was one of my best friends it was so sad you know was having a really hard time and as I was filling out the paperwork I just started balling in a very emotional person but you know the woman behind the counter who of course I don't know just put her hand on my hand and she pressed down on my hand didn't say anything she just touched my end and it it really stopped crying immediately I looked her in the eyes and she just pressed him that was that and I know scared you have to tell me she cared she wouldn't say it's okay it's okay that sense of touch is really powerful right conversely if you go to the airport have to be patted down it's very uncomfortable right when people touch you in that way it's a big big thing in our world because we're so boxy we have our boxes were not supposed to touch each other you know it's really interesting what can happen when you just do just get rid of that even mail photographers and I get this all the time well I'm a guy and I really shouldn't touch her well you know it's your intent I think that's more important it's it's where you're coming from and why you're doing it and I don't say you don't risk open and start handing on people or whatever it starts gently in the very beginning so I like to make the clothing for my girls or put the clothing on her button her up back do the labor of getting her ready I often do my own hair and makeup is that allows me in the box it's not that I'm going to walk up and just pat in touch and it's not that it's just a gentle entry into their space their personal space and for some reason I found that that builds trust because I'm already and I'm already in there we're getting to know each other in each other's faces right up here close there's communication in touch interestingly enough once that's established that sense of she's not afraid of me anymore when a photographing her I think of her space as a sacred space um and I found this really works interesting an interesting way so I never touched my subjects ember when I'm photographing him because I think there's an energy over there that she's building up and that she feels safe in and that she feels successful in and if I go over there and she's doing this and I wanted to do this and if I just grab her hand to do that to me that makes her feel like she's done it wrong that she couldn't do it right and when I have to fix her it pulls the energy down down now what I'd rather just even if I have to say it four times in different ways to get the hand over there there's an interesting energy that we're building and communication verbal communication that entire time I don't ever fix anybody I'll also take a photograph in the dress is not quite right because I don't want to break the energy I've gone everything you know with the dress I'll just take it anyway and I might read you the photograph later or even pose it again but she would never know awareness respect and sensitivity so that whole like wouldn't all mannequin thing and I know that seems really brutal way to say it but it happens when I watch photographer's work all the time at a workshop for instance will come in and I'm not mean to be critical I'm saying that there's an interesting part of my own process will come in and just click click click click click doesn't even want to know the name of the model you know there's no feedback there's no you know and walk away without even saying thank you sometimes really interesting that is a very rigid interaction between photographer and model you are my model you do what I say that doesn't work for me so being an extremely hyper aware of her and I'm overly aware of people I think that's one of the things that helps me do what I do as I'm really sensitive to her and I care I respect that I respect her and that I know that she is seventy five percent of the photograph it's not me it's me watching her in sensitivity being really sent it watching the little things watching a little expressions on her face if I can see about what I'd do something she does it but there's a little tension in the face I can see it's uncomfortable that maybe she's it hurts or she doesn't like it or I can see in her face when I I know we're headed somewhere really good there's intention you know there's intensity joy even gonna push that so it's about powerful spoken language for instance um if someone's in a pose um my pace is very slow first of all I don't I'm not high energy when I photograph I'm very slow and methodical and my voice is like this the whole time I speak very slowly very softly my words are long and language language that word yeah the word now um and it helps to set the mood right um secondly the words I use are important the words themselves so instead of like tip your head I'll say let your head fall slowly slowly like it's heavy to the right I get a really different result mint you know then we have this and she's really interested in this idea of heaviness and things so those words are important and trying to get the end result my tone of voice soft my pace is very slow confidence is really important to so while I'm not that high energy photographer they know I feel like they know that I know what the heck I'm doing and I know where I'm headed and I'm not wishy washy in there so that comes from not breaking poses that I don't like they start to believe me the whole time they believe me choice of words visual connection look into her eyes that's a lot of photographers are almost afraid to do that it's kind of scary sometimes actually because urine is confrontational and they have to trust me mannerism and genuineness my mannerisms are important too if I'm high energy or tense she will be too if my mannerisms are slow and gentle and I use my hands in this way and I think you know fall and I use rather than tip if I'm moving slowly she will also move slowly so I think of a session as like a piece of news musicality so pace my convention is slower rhythm so when I mean by that is I'll start a pose and let's say the beginning of the session it's an easier post and you know we'll get it get all kind of set okay feet together okay just let your hips fall and we'll start to move moving moving moving moving moving click well apart next pose and then a little maybe a little bit repression don't make this more difficult and then the next one and then the next one and eventually we're moving into those difficult poses and we get these big crescendos but I'm trying to keep from happening is a crash and burn moment where I don't really like that if I say that first of all she's going to think she's done something wrong and I start to lose their confidence so even if I don't love oppose I'm going to finish it and then you want to the next one organization of the session so I always start when I'm trying to learn the body of the model with something standing always it's easier and so will move through the hips a little bit I'll start to see how she moves now how long the arms are how flexible she is and then maybe I'll move into something kneeling and see that were difficult and maybe laying down and then maybe I'll try sitting on a curb position or something like that but I'm not going to start with that it's too hard and I don't know she could do it yet and then I talked about the crescendo decor shindo so that works that every pose so I'd build up oh my gosh that's beautiful beautiful hang in there hang in there click and then let it fall and you would again and again and the whole session ideally would have that feeling too in the very end I always use a few easier poses defended taper it off so we feel successful together the whole time so that comes from bonding and trust like for instance with this girl that's nearly impossible post to do she's balancing on her toes in the entire weight of the chair is about to go this way but that was nearly the last pose we did so I did that and then some easier ones at the end but I had to get her to trust me to do that first she trusts me that I know she could do it and secondly she trust me that is worth it to be in that position that the photograph is going to be worth it but it's going to be good and she's never seen my work right or maybe she hasn't even seen a single picture I took cover but she knows because of my intention and because I'm excited about it and there's a real pureness to my intention that it's going to be worth it interest bonding so I'm trying to bond with her in a sense when I'm getting no in the beginning spiritually empathy and honor we talked about that a lot uh physically but spiritually too so that all comes from observation just getting to know some people are more quiet you know and you guys know this if you do portrait's people are just different so spiritually empathy just meaning I'm trying to pick up on her spiritually cues and trains like translate her correctly talk about a minute about specialty sessions so things that I do that people tend to really respond to um the past few years or so I've been really into fashion photography and that happened from falling in love with deborah turbo bell and sarah moon and all those guys girls gals um but you know I was going broke on etsy buying all kinds of cool things from it's where is that enough of that so I just bought some fabric and started experimenting and making my own gowns with it and kind of doing these what I call a couture session um with found objects and handmade dresses that they're wearing so I just take my fabric and pin it on them basically in any possible and I've done all kinds of amazing things since with these just basic fabrics that piece of waste a piece of whining maybe a little bit of tool some ribbon and a couple of little detail items could make anything I'll find address on pinterest and build it right onto her body so you could make a little mermaid gown this is when it started these were really simple and I'll show you later how to do all this just wrapping her in the fabric and that's a little ballerina tutu at the bottom with fabric over it um you could do all kinds of things right so this is just fabric pinned in the back in different silhouettes different shapes and new ballgowns all kinds of interesting things none of these dresses were actually real dresses when I kind of like about this too is okay um the dress falls apart in the end so it doesn't exist after that and I think that's kind of cool because it's unique to her and even do this for your own personal work it doesn't have to always be aimed at a client which it certainly could be somebody wants a custom garment just for them right great you could also use this for your personal work and make whatever you want another part I love about this is I'm getting involved in making the gown on her body so there again I'm in her space and it's custom its creation it it starts from nothing ends up with something and that's part of a really interesting process and the model gets involved in that too pretty cool literal layers so this is something I mentioned josephine's acabo earlier who door she's got a lot of photographs of women through fabrics and through glass and through things that are kind of obscuring your view and I like that idea I thought how the heck do I use that and translate that without just looking like josephine because I don't want to look like josephine right and when would like me the first attempt wasn't just do what she does though I wanted to see how it worked so this is how it started and I tried it on a high key background this is all just experimentation and I thought wait a second I'll use those symbols better embedded in there my love of water right and use that to translate this idea that's where you're a little dna thing comes in the way you see things that are important teo then when you have an inspiration you could say ok only take that inspiration put it in my own language and then suddenly it looks like you this is the first attempt at what I call the tank session now which I really should think of a cool name for so I've just made a tank of pvc which you'll see tomorrow we're going to do this but about four inches of water in there and I thought that could be another layer right so this is the first bit that's cheesecloth behind her floating and I really like the way it looks really getting to the idea of baptism and I tried it outside the cool thing that happened outside wass all these little bits you see here are reflections of tree leaves above her so I was like oh my gosh another layer that's pretty cool right the whole point was to have actual layers not photoshopped players real layers that's what it looks like it's not glamorous but it works and that's the result from it and I'm after a certain feeling right because you know I like kind of non modeled line and square format all that is in there it's still there but I've just taken a new idea and tried it and color even when I do color it's going to be soft muted color right cool thing about this session to is if you use it for a client it's extremely flattering really flattering for the body and easy for them to move around well that should stay since a studio in the woods um so the next thing I like to dio is first of all I love to work in the studio I love a studio however I don't want the studio meaning I don't like the beeping and the clicking and the phone ringing and that kind of I don't know clinical atmosphere so I'm like okay sell think about this how do I do this just move the studio outside right so I got this little pop up tent which is just easy up you could get a money bay a lot and I claim my background to it we're going to this this afternoon and I moved it out into a beautiful place so I have a studio in the woods basically it's a gorgeous background the light's amazing because it comes right through the top of that tent especially midday so you get a giant ten foot soft box gorgeous light and it's in the wind machine or the person with the reflector you get actual wind right birds singing all that cool stuff snakes girl on your cross and I'm kidding although that could happen today um that's what it looks like from my perspective and that's the end result of it really soft velvety light and what I love about this is that forces me to work in that tiny little ten foot area I don't have any other choices isthmian her on a background and that is both extremely difficult and extremely challenging I love that idea of just the body that's all I have to work with so again I'm booking it myself um so one of my favorite photographer's is julia margaret cameron she's wicked old long time ago back when matt matthew brady was kicking around um so she was pretty brave and just photographed whatever she wanted um women with their hair known which is pretty scandalous right this kind of stuff this is back when you had to have the brady chair and it was you had to have the person still and she just said to heck with that I'll do what I feel like doing I like that spirit but also fell in love with their process so not really involved in this idea of actually taking a digital file and and pretty a negative of it and making it either a silver print or a broom while our van dyke print platinum palladium print that kind of thing so I learned this process from david david louis up in canada rome oil so I make a little matrix here this is me inking up a matrix so I learned several processes because of julia margaret cameron it's my first brand while this is my first bromwell kind of looks like an etching I'm so I got really into this idea of alternative process and craft so you know if you make a picture or let's say john singer sargent makes a painting you can't order a wall it's over the painting right it's just if there's one that's it so I like that idea of craft and when I make an object maybe there's only one there's only one it looks like that I can't make a wall it's because this is what we're living in right we all know it's there it's his mass production and loss of value kind of thing people know that you could make a wall it's it doesn't mean it's worthless but it has lost a little bit right it's lots of little bit of its figure I like the idea of a handmade object that is one of a kind think of the things that you own that are one of a kind nobody else can have one just like it it's just one that's precious that's interesting and people want that people are craving that right now so I'm not saying it's the only answer but it's an idea and really when I kind of want you to think about more than that it's just the idea of craft how can you put some craftsmanship into your work making objects that are really special that people need tohave it's another thing I've been playing with is this chemical cleaner called citrus solved and I never used that before you guys so we can get a whole foods it's a great cleaner by the way but you can also take it and painted onto the pages of a national geographic magazine right sounds really odd I know it has to be a national geographic newer than the year two thousand you paint the citrus all on it stick the pages together wait ten minutes and this happens I don't know what happened but the ink freaks out in there and makes this kind of stuff there's soy based ink so when you add the citrus stuff to it they just flip out and when you open it you get that it's pretty cool right citrus off has a whole website about it so I made a bunch of these and I thought what the heck am I gonna do with them so I tried it the texture step one but then I thought let's use in colors what happens scarlett is photographed in the pool and over laid the texture with the multiply mode so I mean I know it's it's a digital process but it's still I've made the object right it's still a one of a kind thing my point is there's a million ways to be one of a kind you just have to figure out what yours is and that is this close to impossible but there's that space there's a little bit okay moving on this one I didn't actually collage I just took it printed it pulled it apart you summon podge and made a physical collage of it with gold leaf you can also use citrus all to transfer images so I just took a photo copy here planted it on the back let it soak through use a spoon to burnish it and you get that just pretty cool almost looks like a broom oil doesn't it and the citrus fresh which is a nice touch or not so just another thing it just it's a one of a kind handmade object okay so I don't know if we have time to do all this but we can chuck through it right um this is the last but I just want to talk to you about because people always ask me about this type of work so I do my women's portraiture which is is one like half of my brain and then my compositing of stuff is the other half of my brain and that's when I find artwork comes in the work that I sell in galleries and things like that I do think of it as a blank canvas which is both invigorating and horribly frightening right so this is the first composite ever did and I just I just took the bride and the owl that stuff out of several images and second together I did this one so I start to get into this idea of the blank canvas and I could make anything I want so at first that scattered me because it was too much to think about right but then I had planet earth to pick from again which is just overwhelming it's too much so I had to say wait a second homeless in be still for a minute what's important to me what's going on in my life and I want to talk about our translator put on paper so the first series that it was called traveller and this is when I moved out to boston so the idea wass I was translating the feeling of starting over so this girl is traveling into through these spaces with these burdens and sometimes companions so I was just stuff like that that's a little thing you get the home goods or whatever I write and translate these objects is really fun to be able to just kind of play with scale that kind of stuff this is the packing material from ups I like to look up and how do I make that a burden on somebody you know it's all how to put it into your language and it really is about language think about how we all speak same language when you listen to somebody else speak a different language there's a disconnect because it's unique to them in your conversation these little objects I got at hobby lobby and things like that if you're going out how to translate them into my own language this is just one of those little pumpkin things that I used to make the tunnel um the next series I did called baptism so I took that idea of being able teo work with anything I wanted really and multiplied it so I started photographing fifty or sixty objects this is all corps car parts that I used for this work and again I had honed and I'd say what's important to me what I need to talk about right now and this was the the idea of this spiritual journey when you're going through the process of baptism what that feels like so I just took our parts photograph him in the studio selected him out and dropped him in so it's making these little sculptures really kind of where this idea started this is the weather stripping stuff just showing you through the objects that were used those were just the little pipes or whatever photograph them selected them and that's what made the harp so it starts with the blank canvas so the shadows have painted in added in the sky which was important to me because it has a little fish shape in the background and every single thing is on its own layer so when I'm compositing it's important to look at camera angle needs to match lens choice needs to be the same more than anything like direction like quality have to match so when I photographed these pipes I photographed him four times each direction that way I could use some however whichever direction I wanted and the light would be correct on them scale is important all those things I hand selected the tree off the background which is crazy it took a lot of hours so layer by layer was just showing you it kind of deconstructed here's the model and then finally the see if you turn over the top and I'll show you how I told all my images everything um on our last day all right so I took that work tio photo festival called photo fessed there's also a photo loosen up in portland um and I started to work place working to galleries and um that with under no I think it was twenty museum creators gallery owners publicist people like that on dh people have responded to the work and I was able to place into few galleries and he represented by a few folks um the last body of work I'll show you I went to san francisco and to alcatraz but never been there we could cool right so I photographed all the floor on alcatraz and at the time I didn't really know why secondly went to this museum photographed all this stuff I didn't really know why I was interested in it though so I took some photographs of it and in the end I had to say again okay what's important to me so this concept came from how I felt at the time about women's place in the world mostly uh women's place in the church so I took all those objects did julie out of them together and came up with us and the serious is called flora shortly after I was having migraines and things like that um a lot of pain and a lot of kind of at the time I didn't know what was going on so it was really frightening I took that feeling translated it try to put it on paper and so I came up with the serious called medic um this is us packing a creighton taking everything out to new mexico which is where I did this project built an entire set for the siri's of medic because I needed the specific space and specific shape so cover the walls and plaster runnin about I don't know two hundred different objects all atomic surplus and military surplus photographed a ball and in the end this is the final work so just taking a three sixty back to where I came from that whole process began me thinking you know into objects and sculptures and now you know I've taken that process and just multiplied and so I'm making large scale sculptures to photograph that's what I'm doing in my new work so really it boils down to setting your intention and having a statement of purpose right and if you have you can always return to it say what am I what's important to me what the heck am I trying to say and then translated into something okay thank you guys for sticking in I love looking at your faces this whole time and saying you guys kind of communicate back to me we're dealing with some of these ideas so susan and I are sitting here riveted on the edge of our seats the whole room is I see the producers the models and the internet is a cz well we just before taking a few questions wanted to read you off what some people are saying roberto valenzuela says good morning everyone just tuning in to hear one of my favorite photographers on the planet jennifer hudson has always been a true artist and inspiration in my work one thing that is so special about genesis our understanding of breaking standard rules for artistic expression she really makes you think in a different way big okay all right of live for bringing her yeah jen I think just the emotional response in the chat rooms that we don't necessarily see that often people were really touch so I just want to read some of the comments this came these comments came out right when you first started like first five minutes that you're speaking evoke dreams photography said she's the most passionate I've seen yet to her it's not about the business it's about her heart and I feel like she's speaking to my life so I really like that another guest said I think we now have permission not to be creative everyday yes amen which I really appreciated all that everything that you said about that was incredible allie song said wow that is not easy to be that vulnerable in front of thousands of strangers I love her which I thought was cool and one more amy hood said at last a true artist in the house thank you for bringing her so those were all amazing yeah and there's just pages pages so it's really really awesome so we're just before we take a break we are going to try to get in a few questions okay where there are so many yeah that air coming in so I wanted to start off a little bit about about the communication with models and julie from auburn asked how much time do you take to communicate the meaning behind what you're gonna ask the models to dio and also do you choose your models by looks or by whether they can understand that meaning that's an interesting question is a really good question and the answer to it so I don't tell them so ideally it's translated in my boyz in in the way that I speak to them in a genuine way um and in the words I use so I might say if I had like for instance when I had that model over the other model I said you know while they were in the post which is important imagine this is a heavy burden is a heavy burden in your life it's it's our heartfelt really tough heavy burden and all of a sudden it can't it went from this to that because it it's not necessarily I'm not telling them I'm trying to do with the idea of human relationships and balance right I don't want them to know that because if I tell them that they're going to interpret that in their own way and it's not gonna look like me so in a sense they're kind of surrogates for how I'm feeling I'm imparting my own heart onto them as a surrogate kind of and using their body to talk about something I need to talk about if I tell him too much if we cross wires on then they get in their head and they're trying too hard to illustrate my concept right when that's my job not theirjob I love that all right we have a question more question about kind of your process thehe from mississippi ask do you ever realize that something you're working on is heading down a dead end road and how do you learn what concepts are ideas to discard and what to continue exploring and is that just all to intuition or do you have more of a process it's that also a really good question and a hard question when I was doing my fabric room there were several times where I thought this is not going to work this isn't nuts it's gonna take me a year to finish this why am I doing this all for one picture you know there were several crashing for a moment moments in there and when you crash when I crash and burn I would have to think no stick with it stick with it stick with it stick with it if nothing else I need to finish what I started and that goes for a pose like we talked about I never break pose so if I know it's not working that's okay finish it anyway and you never know what you'll discover in that in that moment of kind of ickiness sometimes you finish something it becomes amazing you know but that's that's a vulnerability issue with artists you know it happens with everyone what you're just like you stopped have faith in yourself that happened when I was telling you I couldn't get off the floor for a while I had no faith in myself I didn't feel like it could make anything good and when I started making something you know I thought if I don't finish this I'll never get out of it so I just finish it seeing through think we've all felt that way yeah yeah this is a question about your car position and what you showed us from fashion tv in singapore who's a regular um I can't help notice that most of your subjects are centered in your images what are your visions or thoughts while producing those images what a reviews on negative space to the left or the right in fine art photography yeah he's right I do center my subject I prefer that and I almost start with that like when we're looking for locations yesterday I was pointed little looking for a spot where I could send her my subject it's really important to me first of all I like the way it looks and it's very bay like still looking if I put somebody on the right side of the image there's a lot more energy in there and negative space I call it passive space because I don't want to hurt its feelings um so it's too much here or too much here to me I like the stillness in eeriness of the center subject but also I think it plays with the ideas of balance and quiet solitude showing a lot of space around somebody I'll tend to center people and also tend to show a lot of space around them and I think it just looks quiet and still rather than you know having a space in the left it's more energetic and just to follow up on that francisca diana in jakarta any reason or purpose for using that square your squid what what was it about the square that you were onto any sense combined with that center yeah one reason is because of the same issue the stillness evenness the balance of it is perfectly balanced I love squares because they're perfectly about but the other part of that is if I force myself to see things that way it narrows focus if I allow myself to see a panoramic too much or you know I start to get distracted there's too many possibilities and I know that seems to some people like but you're throwing out so much good stuff but to me I'm taking us a space and philly a smaller space and filling it up rather than having a couple of little pennies and a giant giant tob you know does that make sense yeah I can focus my energy and say this is the way I see the world and then make amazing amazing things in that space

Class Description

Are you ready to delve into the magical world of fine art photography? Join innovative and award-winning photographer Jennifer Thoreson for an immersion into everything you need to know to conceptualize, style, and shoot photographs that double as works of art.

Jennifer will share her unique method for turning a natural setting into a fine art studio, including her one-of-a-kind-technique for creating water portraits. You’ll master the essential principles of posing, lighting, styling, and costuming. Jennifer will also cover working effectively with models, communicating your personal vision, and using Photoshop to add a fine-art-style polish to images.

By the end of this course, you’ll be inspired and empowered to bring a new level of artistry to your photographs.


a Creativelive Student

I can't review the course as I haven't seen it yet, but I am buying it. I'm buying it based on the one free session on inspiration. I was so moved by who Jennifer is and her courage and commitment. I want to know her; be her friend, because she is so fearless and courageous. She admits that it took a long time for her to find her path. She reminds us again and again that it is hard -- art is hard. She was inspired by amazing paintings -- I completely understand why they inspired her, and in the direction that they did. I can't wait to watch this whole course, because I can't wait to witness more of Jennifer and her courage, her creativity, and her big lioness heart.

Joshua Pheneger

Jennifer is a talented and genuine artist with a gentle soul. Her perspective on how to approach the creative process and how to "quiet the little voices" and practice quiet observation are very helpful. I have been tremendously inspired by this course and I feel as though I am a better artist for having participated. Thank you for bringing this wonderful artist to the amazing creativeLIVE community.

Laura Arrowsmith

I love her work and her teaching. Her perspective is so beautiful and inspiring. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with her in Colorado this summer and it was a life-changing experience. The location was spectacular. Jennifer is so brilliant, yet so warm and friendly. I really just don't have enough glowing adjectives to describe this event.