Project Review #3 | Katerina Kalogeraki by Miranda Gavin

For my third Photofusion Members’ Project Review Katerina Kalogeraki sent selection of 10 photographs from her personal project, Family Portraits: Four Generations, focusing on families from countries “around Europe and one family from Singapore”. The work aims to look at family structures, cultural similarities and differences, and cross-cultural mixing over generations.

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The colour photographs are all environmental portraits taken in each of the family’s homes, indoors and outdoors. There is no easily discernible reason as to why two photographs have been shot outside the home and I wondered why. In looking at the images these two feel inconsistent with the overall conceptual approach as they disrupt the flow created in the majority of the portraits. The portraits have been taken in living rooms, a conservatory and in a hallway, with sitters posed on chairs, sofas or standing. Some of the images are shot straight on while others use the corner of the room; in some images the subjects are closer to the camera, in others they are further away.

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Looking at the work, there are a few areas that need to be addressed. If the work is to show similarities and differences then the images need to share a commonality in terms of setting and lighting. This doesn’t mean that they all have to be absolutely identical—the point of view can be varied, but they need to be well executed and, if possible, have a sense of both the sitters and the photographer. The use of a wide-angle lens in some of the portraits, perhaps because the space to photograph in is so small, creates a wider field of view, which has the effect of distorting space and bending lines. This is particularly noticeable in the portrait of the man and woman standing next to a chair on which an older woman, presumably a mother/grandmother, is sitting holding a baby. Not only this, but the man is not standing straight and looks awkward as he seems to be bending to get into buy phentermine online india view.

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Suggestions would be to think about how to use the name, age and relationship between the sitters in the captions for each individual image. This information would give the work thoroughness in terms of research and would push it more to the ethnographic approach that Katerina seems to be aiming for. Other pointers would be to only shoot the families indoors or outdoors, especially as the weather, the clothes and the settings have an impact on the final portrait.

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Thinking about associations and ways forward, Katerina would be advised to take the technical considerations mentioned above into account and may also find it useful to look at a number of photographers who produce consistently strong portraits including environmental portraits.

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One body of work that immediately comes to mind is that by fellow Photofusion member, Francesca Moore, Bhopal: Facing 30 (for which I wrote a book review on this blog). Moore used an ethnographic approach and meticulously researched and documented her subjects using a large-format 5×4 camera to create formal portraits of hundreds of families living in the area where the Union Carbide accident occurred in 1984.


Julian Germain’s Classroom Portraits of children in classrooms around the world. Click here…
Further suggestion include photographer Jane Hilton for her portraits in Dead Eagle Trail. Click here…
and Precious. Click here…
This portraits bear all the hallmarks of Hilton’s intimate personal approach, particularly her sensitive use of colour as well as her confident use of both available and artificial lighting. Hilton’s extensive editorial work is also worth looking at.
Donna Schwartz’s related projects On the Nest Expecting. Click here…
and Empty Nesters. Click here…
are other reference points, as she photographs the sitters in a variety of poses in different rooms, but always standing,
Simon Roberts’ portrait of a couple in Motherland for the sensitive way the couple is portrayed with enough information to give a feel of their relationship. Click here…