There is something to be said for a really good, really simple portrait. It's so hard to do! And so powerful when done well. I've had these amazing portraits by New Zealand Photographer Fiona Andersen on my computer for a while now, and I find myself staring at them at least once a day. They are just perfection, as are all of her photos. I'm such a fan! "My passion for photography started way back when the dinosaurs still loomed. I have always had major envy for those gifted artists who can pick up a pencil and draw and create a replica of nature, people, animals, anything. My camera is my artistic voice and it brings me joy."
Scroll down to the end for Cat's take.
Maturity defines these three children's portraits by Fiona Anderson. Sure, the children themselves are young, but their neutral facial expressions are heavy, old, and most un-childlike. Neutral faces are not something that we see in child portraiture coming out of the western world: it is understood that children will smile, perform, or express in some way for us, and this has been an integral part of portraiture starting in the early-to-mid twentieth century. So when you see a portrait of a child with a neutral face, it is a powerful image. Adding to that power, we see three gorgeous little girls, each with natural, wavy, dirty blond hair, who might have just been out in the yard playing, or might have just gotten home from school before being asked to sit down for a quick portrait.
The simplicity of the set-up also adds to the power of these photos: centered, black-and-white portraits, against a white wall. The whole package reminds me of two great photographers: Richard Avedon and Sally Mann. Avedon defined and redefined the use of a white backdrop, and Mann is known for large-format, earthy, serious portraits she has taken of her children on their rural farm.
These photographs were shot digitally. Looking forward to seeing more of Fiona's work in the future!