Performative Documentary

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Text of Performative Documentary



    Mansoor Asib Ahaidi



    There are four different forms of portrait

    photography: constructionist, environmental, candid,

    and creative. If a photographer takes a

    constructionist approach, they are trying to use the

    portrait to communicate a clear idea about what is

    depicted, for example a happy family or a successful

    businessman. The image is constructed to

    communicate a concept and usually takes place

    studio. It is an approach that is commonly used in

    advertising and marketing.

  • The Environmental Approach tries to show the person in their

    environment, for example in a work, leisure, social or family

    situation. The environment is used as a tool to communicate

    information about the subject.

    The Candid Approach is when people are photographed without

    their knowledge, living their day to day lives. A key example of

    candid portrait photography is the photography taken by the


    The Creative Approach often involves digital manipulation and

    post production work to produce photographs that have a

    surreal and artistic quality.

    Different Genres


    Annie Leibovitz is one of the most

    famous portrait photographers in the

    world. Annies work has appeared in

    well known magazines such as Rolling

    Stone and Vanity Fair. She is best

    known for her portraits of celebrities

    which include John Lennon, Richard

    Nixon and numerous Hollywood actors.


    Annies approach towards portrait photography can be described as both constructionist and creative. She often tries to communicate a clear idea in her pictures and uses post production techniques to introduce a sense of magic and wonder. A typical example of this style is in her Disney Dream series that feature celebrities in Disney fairy tale scenes to promote Disney Parks' "Year of a Million Dreams".

    The special effects used in these images make them incredibly visually interesting but also give the photos a sense of magic which is appropriate for the fairytale theme. The images are very striking and create a sense of wonder and awe in the viewer. This mimics the effect that the Disney film on which it is based would have on a small child.

  • Queen Latifah as

    The Little Mermaid

  • THE WORK CAME FROM? An example from this series is this picture of Queen Latifah as

    Ursula from the Little Mermaid. This photo is composed of two

    key elements: Queen Latifah dressed as Ursula and the

    landscape she has been superimposed on in post-production.

    The juxtaposition in this photo is created by the contrast

    between the static rocks and mountains and the vibrancy and

    movement implied by the image of Ursula which is mirrored in

    the violent choppiness and roughness of the sea. However in

    terms of scale, Ursula dominates this image due to the use of

    perspective. She is the first element that our eye is drawn to

    because of her imposing presence. Despite her elaborate post

    production Leibovitzs focus is always on the human subject.


    AFFECT THE VIEWERHer portraits are not only known for their artistic

    and conceptual style, but for their emotive quality

    and their ability to strike a chord with the viewer.

    Key examples include the images that she created

    of Demi Moore where she was pregnant and on the

    cover of Vanity Fair, John Lennon clinging to Yoko

    Ono for dear life and Miles Davis flopped on a bed,

    pants unzipped, trumpet by his side,one gleaming

    eye staring out.



    Annie Leibovitzs pictures are distinguishable from other photographers because of the unique concepts behind her pictures and her deliberately constructionist approach. Her portraits are multi-layered. They are not only strikingly beautiful but also cleverly communicate ideas about the subject.

    The cover of Rolling Stone featuring Bette Midler lying on a bed of roses is a particular example. The concept not only cannily refers to the film Midler was promoting at the time, The Rose, but also captures the feminine sexuality of a young woman on the cusp of a professional and creative breakthrough.




    The principal usage of professional sport

    photographs are in editorial features.. The

    dedicated sport photographer works for different

    newspapers, major wire agencies and different

    magazines. Sports photography is also used to

    promote products and build brands through

    advertising campaigns and to promote different

    sports that might not usually get editorial


  • BOB MARTIN Bob Martin is a multi award winning sport photographer. He

    specializes in shooting action, graphic and editorial pictures

    for advertising, corporate and editorial client. Bob Martin has

    been a sport photographer for the last 30 years.

    Bob Martin has photographed

    different major sporting events

    including the last thirteen summer

    and winter Olympics.


    Bob Martin is very good at specializing in

    action shots. Bob Martin is particularly for

    his photography of athletic events. His

    work has been published in Sport

    Illustrated Magazines, the New York

    Times, The Sunday Times, Life Magazine

    and many other publications

  • The focus point of this photo is in the face of the athlete. We can see in the

    strained facial expression that this athlete wants to give his heart to the sport and

    wants to win this competition.

    The lighting that is being used in this photography is natural lighting

    because this photo is being taking during the afternoon or in the morning. The

    mud that is flying in this photo on the athlete face is textural. The mud is creating

    a layer by layer texture that creates a 3 Dimensional image.

  • This photography is mainly focused on the athletes problems

    and their struggles in the competition. Rather than focusing on

    the ship, Bob Martin only focuses on the problem that the

    athletes are going through.

    The lighting that is used in this photography is natural light

    because we can see the sky is cloudy, as well in this photo we

    can see that the sea is splashing everywhere in the boat.

    The yellow of the kit the athletes are wearing contrasts with the

    background of the photo, and this make the photo stand out.

  • TECHNIQUES Bob Martin uses high definition cameras and motion

    capture when taking action shots, which make for visually exhilarating shots.

    This sort of equipment enables him to capture details such as straining muscles and sweat, all of which enhance the realism of his photos and provide an insight for the viewer into the physical experience of being an athlete.

  • I love this portrait because it looks like the face is emerging from abyss. This portrait only focuses on the person forehead to the chin he gives a emotion and the seriousness in the photo.

    The picture is contrast lighting focusing on the face and the black in the background showing shadows in the face.

    The model that is being used in this photo is a adult. I would use my friend to represent this shot. I think that the shot is being used in the studio to create the background and the shadows.

    I can use the studio to create the image. The props that is being used in this photo is the glass, when creating this photo I need to buy the glasses from the shop.


  • CONCLUSIONAlthough operating in very different genres and

    using different techniques, both Leibovitzs and

    Martins are focused on the human subject. Due

    to the purpose and context of his photography,

    Martins work is far more realist whereas

    Leibovitzs leans towards the artistic and

    creative. However, they both are attempting to

    communicate key ideas about their subjects to

    their viewers and convey the lived realities and

    experiences of the people they capture.