Skip to main content
Menu

Go glossy!

by Katherine Russell, 1 March 2006

In association with the Glossy 2 exhibition, eight year 10,11 and 12 students spent two days transforming themselves into a variety of alter-egos in the first ever 8x10 Glossy Photo Shoot Workshop.

Quite an extraordinary event took place at the National Portrait Gallery in January. In association with the Glossy 2 exhibition, eight year 10,11 and 12 students spent two days transforming themselves into a variety of alter-egos in the first ever 8x10 Glossy Photo Shoot Workshop.

The aim of the workshop was to demonstrate all the elements that go into creating a magazine-style portrait - like those on display in Glossy 2 - by collaborating with professionals on every facet of the production of a photographic portrait.

The workshop, held in the midst of the exhibition at National Portrait Gallery Commonwealth Place, began by immersing participants in contemporary fashion and celebrity photography, especially the work of the seven photographers featured in Glossy 2. The group looked at the exhibition and spent time browsing current issues of cutting-edge fashion and photographic magazines, with the morning's viewing summed up in an informative presentation by a magazine art director.

Participants were then introduced to the photographer they would be working with the next day, who gave a presentation about what to consider when preparing for a photographic session. Factors such as: Where is your light source? Are you considering a full-length image or just a face shot? Will you use props? All the while each person was contemplating what their overall theme would be and how all of these elements would combine to articulate that theme. The pressure was on and time was of the essence, yet participants seemed to hit on their 'shoot' concept with relative ease - most having a very precise vision of the final image they hoped to achieve.

On that first afternoon the gallery was a hive of activity with the majority of the group choosing to paint or draw backdrops for their photo shoot. With this going on in the background, both the hair and makeup artists conducted individual consultations with participants to assist them in achieving the look they were after. With the paint drying on the backdrops and all props arranged in readiness for the second day, participants rushed home to rummage around for wardrobe items and accessories that would render their image unique.

Day 2 - The photo shoot. Everyone arrived with costume in hand as well as other props they had chosen to bring along to enhance their photograph: a red trench-coat, a string of pearls, a leather jacket (belonging to a father who was arguably Canberra's first punk!). With no time to lose, the hair and makeup styles decided upon the previous day were brought to reality. The shoot itself proceeded without a hitch, and participants got to witness the dramatic effects that lighting can have on an image. The group had been broken up into pairs on Day 1, in order to experience the process of taking portrait photographs themselves - not their own image but rather that of their partner - so it was crucial that the pairs worked in tandem to achieve this end (a big ask - considering most hadn't met one another before the workshop). The resultant photographs are not only a testament to the subject's individual creativity but also to the photographic skills of their partner - and therein lies the beauty and uniqueness of the 8 x10 Glossy program. Of course, this project could not have happened without the input of a dedicated team of staff and collaborators. I would like to extend the Portrait Gallery's thanks to the following people, Jodi and Georgina from Hotshots Photography, Kim Lloyd from Canberra Makeup Academy, Emma Tredgold of Form Haircutters and Sarah Evans for her insider perspective on the magazine industry.