Having thought hard about the project and read extensively around the topic of portraiture I've actually got around to taking some initial photographs and made contact with all the intended 'victims'. And guess what its not as easy as one might imagine. I guess if I ever thought about portraiture before (and pretty much I hadn't) I've always considered it to be a less than fully taxing subject - after all you focus in one the subject, clear the field of obvious confusions and take the shot eh? I now begin to realize how difficult it is to even get a reasonable image let alone one that has something interesting and thoughtful as regards the sitter.
I have started the project - provisionally entitled 'Professional Engagements' - with a few 'test shots' of my GP. He's an interesting and open character and someone who has pushed the boundaries of his profession. He does several minor forms of elective surgery on the premises, is head of the practice and has pioneered certain aspects of GP engagements (and featured on Radio 4 for doing so). He is also interested in photography and very knowledgeable on the subject. Very much a willing collaborator in my enterprise. I was very nervous about actually shooting any pictures at all and to be honest a little scared about getting started. So I feel that even though the initial shots are desperately poor I am at least 'off the mark'. I have written or spoken to all the other initial subjects and hopefully in the next couple weeks will begin to assemble an early portfolio of images that will form a 'base camp' from which the portfolio might emerge.
What is evident is that operating within the constraints of the portrait narrows your focus on the details and makes you consider aspects of the settings, props, lighting and staging that previously I had never imagined might be anywhere near as important as I now realize they are. Another aspect is the way in which I engage with the subject, how much intervention I make, to what extent the sitter relates to me, and so forth. I have written a side of A4 that frames the project and gives each sitter some ideas around my engagement with the exercise that I might post later. For now its just one image from session one, subject one...the GP...to show how far there is to go with this adventure.