Portraiture is endlessly fascinating, an enigma wrapped up in riddle, that why I love it so much.
Take Todd… (please…). Todd runs a social media agency called Spaghetti Agency. Todd is marmite. You’ll love him or you won’t. He’s loud, brash, in your face challenging, but very good at what he does.
Todd is looking for a new business portrait so I created one for him, here it is…
Like Todd, its extreme, unique, in your face and brash. Todd loved it and put it up on his Facebook. But he wanted to check what his followers in social media thought… so he compared it to the original and posted this.
What happened next was phenomenal! I cant post it all here (but go up and read the comments on that post) but it gave me enough for a lot of serious blogging content.
This is the email I sent to Todd after his social media explosion!
Your image seems to be like marmite – people either love it or hate it!
Its really fascinating how people have reacted and it confirms all the research I have been doing for my 4Sight.
What is playing out is a form of Jahari’s window.
We all have four different (and often competing) images of ourselves:
- Who we know we are
- Who we would like ourselves to be
- Who we are as known by others
- Who others would like us to be
The B&W image I created was deliberately extreme in style because you as an individual are a purple cow. I was looking to recreate that somehow and I think I succeeded, certainly there is no other portrait out there like it , just as there is no-one else doing what your doing.
As I mentioned, a photograph is an impression of reality, not reality itself.
Now look what happened when you compared the two images, the colour image is closer to reality, it is still not reality of course just an impression.
Everyone then had a point of reference and the illusion of the B&W image was exposed, suspension of disbelief was shattered and everyone then deffered to the colour image because that is more familiar.
Here is the most interesting thing:
Everyone was playing into No.4 ‘who others would like us to be’. They found the B&W image jarred with what they want you to be and found it uncomfortable. They had a strong reaction against it because they have a strong image of you, an image that you cannot know for sure.
I just love portraiture, it never ceases to amaze me!
So when you have your photo taken and you look at the results remember those four images of yourself that will play out…
It’s very interesting to me and what’s even more interesting is the diverse view people have of themselves, how that affects what they like about themselves, and of course how they see their picture.
What do you think?