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Stories without faces

September 15, 2016

 

When I started taking photos of my family a few years ago, Iike many people, I was looking for that smiling joyful face that is suppose to follow after the adults say the magic word: CHEEEEESE! The truth is, I would often end up with photos of my children being annoyed. Those faces didn't reflect their personalities and moments I wanted to remember.

 

At that moment I realized that what mattered to me was to capture them in photos no matter what faces they were making. I discovered that sometimes images that showed true emotions didn't even include their faces.

 

Here are a few way to tell stories without faces:

 

 

1.Hands

Hands are unique in that they tell so much of the story. The fact is that we subconsciously stare at our own hands all day long.  They are always in front of us. They are our connection to our daily life and to the world.  When we see photos that focus on another persons hands, it allows us to immediately connect to the story - we can easily put ourself into the other person's place.  For your photos, consider the story you want the viewer to imagine being a part of. Is your subject young or old? What is the subject doing? How are they connecting with someone, or to the world? 

 

 

 

2.From the back or the top

By placing yourself behind your subject and at their eye level, you are focusing your attention on what your subject is seeing. What are their surroundings? Where are they going? Who are they? You can also position yourself higher, on a chair or a ladder for example, putting the emphasis on the subject's size and the world around them.

 

 

 

3.Silhouettes

Silhouettes are one of my favorites faceless portraits. By placing your subjects against a brighter background their shadows come to life and truly stand out. Look for interesting backgrounds as well as clearly defined shapes. 

 

 

 

4.Shadows and reflections

By focusing primarily on shadows or reflections in your images, you're depicting your subject in an unconventional way. Keep an eye out for them whether you're indoors or outdoors. Not only are you creating a certain mood you're adding so much to the storytelling aspect of your photograph. 

 

 

 

5.Out of Focus

When we take photographs, we are often on a quest for the sharpest image. Instead I encourage you to experiment with a photo that  has aspects that are intentionally out-of-focus.  By stepping back and focusing your attention on a detail other than your subject's face, it offers depth to the story that is otherwise trapped in a 2-dimensional medium.   

 

 

 

Have a great time telling your stories.

 

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