Western Michigan University

Laura Pizzoferrato

Laura Pizzoferrato
Art 3480: Digital Photography
Digital prints; 13″ x 19″
2 out of 50 in series

This is a study of portraiture. I find a spot outside and ask strangers if I can photograph them. Then I ask them “what is on your mind?” or “what where you thinking right before I approached you?” and then ask them to write their answers on the whiteboard. I wanted to show personality within the portraits by showing facial expression along with their message or thoughts. I have posted some of the photos on my flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljpizzo/sets/72157622558131978/.

12 thoughts on “Laura Pizzoferrato”

  1. I really love the idea and the photographs. I do know of many other photographers who’ve done something like this – is there a way you can show it a little differently? Or, somehow make it unique to you? I know it is impossible to do something completely original, but at the same time – the writing ideas on a board or a card seems a bit overdone. That being said – I really do like what you are doing, and feel the idea of getting their immediate thoughts is really great and (I think) pretty original. Also, you chose great backdrops for your subjects.

    I’m sure I will continue to think about these throughout the day. Thank you!

  2. i like these, they remind me of the ‘post secret’ books but using photography and portraits. A large series would make an interesting book.

  3. I thought your concept was both very intriguing and wonderful. I really enjoyed the randomness and some comedy that you portrayed through these simple portraits.

  4. I always find concepts like these to be very enjoyable because of what the people write. It helps the viewer to see more of the person than just their exterior.

  5. I like how this form of portraiture captures not only the subject’s face, but also how ther person writes, as well as something personal to them that others can relate to by seeing these photographs. It makes me wonder (more than I already did before I saw these photographs) what everybody is thinking when I pass them on the sidewalk. You must get a lot of rejection when you ask these random people, but I guess you would get more used to that as you continued in this idea. Nice work!

  6. I did get a fair amount of rejection, but as people started participating I actually got people coming up to me asking what I was doing. There were a couple of instances where I had a line of people wanting to get their message out there. It was a fun process once I got the hang of it.

  7. A very successful look at portraiture. I really like how you’ve let the subjects direct their own portrait and how they choose to portray themselves. You’ve captured people in their ‘natural environments’, looking how they want, and saying what they want. I feel very little photographer interference here, and that’s what makes the portrait so geniune and true. Really nice!

  8. I think that is a great way to approach portraiture, and to get people to think about what kind of image they present to the world. I agree with the previous comment of feeling very little photographer interference and getting a more sincere sense of the subject. I do wonder, though, how it would work to have the boards propped up next to the subject, so that you could see more of the person? Or having the board displayed near the subject’s feet, and that way have a full length image? I think the way you’ve done it is really cool though!

  9. Not only is this approach to portraiture engaging and personal, but it is humorous as well. All the very characteristic elements of the figures shot, including their expressions, how they present themselves through their posture, and even their handwriting, all aid in this quirky insight into the subject’s recent thoughts. Compositionally, I wish we could see the entire body from head to two and possibly a closer shot of the board. Great work!

  10. I think this is a very interesting series. I like that the subject has to write down their thoughts, seeing the handwriting with the face further shows a sense of their personality. I think it would be interesting to perhaps vary the prompts you ask the subjects, for example you could say something like “What has been troubling you lately?” However I do really enjoy the fun interruption of their routine, you can almost see the surprise on their faces.

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