Behind the Scenes: James Mollison Shoots Portraits at a Kenyan Refugee Camp

James Mollison is known for his photojournalistic portraiture. He often photographs his subjects in front of a white backdrop, and then presents the final portrait next to a picture of the persons's living conditions. In this video, he'll speak about his previous projects; but you'll also get see him in action. He goes to a Kenyan refugee camp and captures some beautiful and somewhat disheartening images of the inhabitants.

Via: Feature Shoot

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Adam Cross's picture

The people would be much better un-posed and in their normal environment - white background just doesn't cut it whether it's for a series or not. It's posed, fake, too westernised and boring.

great critique....

Adam Cross's picture

great reply...

Blake Hessel's picture

I think that is somewhat the intention. He removes the subjects from their environments so the viewer can more easily digest and consider them; looking only at bodies, faces, clothes, expressions, etc. When combined with photos of their dwellings, the viewers perhaps have a different perspective after looking at the refugees separated from context.

Adam Cross's picture

you're quite right - I just don't like it :) just my personal opinion

Joey L has a similar series but all taken in the subjects environment, those images are fantastic but I still feel these offer something different. Seeing their environment makes me feel ..... Lucky

ChristophZiegenhardt's picture

I wrote about James' work last in October '11.I Also talk about the privileges and responsibilities that come this humanitarian photography work . Check it out (and much more on the topic)

I feel there is a closer bond to the subject by creating the simple portrait on white,raising the subject in the viewers eyes,and having the subject's situation in the same frame allows us to relate more to the subject humanizing them further than if they were simply shot within their surroundings. The poses themselves are necessary for this illusion, but make no mistake the hardship in their expressions!