Re-imagining Portraiture with Video Portaits
Video portraits, or long portraits, are just what they sound like- a subject sitting in front of a camera for several minutes. I first came across video portraits about 3-4 years ago when I saw Clayton Cubitt‘s long portrait of photographer Noah Kalina. Cubitt is best known for his NSFW, in-your-face fashion photography. And while lot of the work in his portfolio has an immediacy and titillating flashiness, what caught my attention in his video portraits is the extreme patience and restraint they possess. There are no soundtracks to his Cubitt’s portraits. It’s just you and the subject. I found it hard to hold the subject’s gaze for the full portrait.
Tyler Shields, a celebrity portrait photographer, takes a slightly different approach to video portraits. He uses his photo shoots as an opportunity to do video portraits with subjects like Alison Brie and Zachary Quinto. His portraits are set to music and almost seem like music videos.
I’ve even dabbled in making video portraits. It’s hard not to experiment with video when it’s now a function of my camera. Though I can’t be sure what motivates video portrait artists like Cubitt and Shields, for me, sometimes a single image isn’t enough to fully capture one of my subjects. Sometimes I need a song or movement to help me more fully express my emotions about my subject. My video portraits are never meant to be narrative or even polished. They were simply a celebration of a subject in a moment.