How to Take a Memorable Portrait:
10 Pieces of Advice
Photographer, worked for AP, Time, Bloomberg, UN, Médecins Sans Frontières. After losing interest in photojournalism, Dima entered the Rhode Island School of Design, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree. In 2015, published his first photo book called Inshallah.
— A good photograph is defined by three aspects: informational, aesthetic, and psychological. If you are good at all three, you can create a masterpiece. In the early 20th century, it was thought that photography could convey the real nature of a person — something that others can’t see with the untrained eye. There were schemers who earned their fortune through taking photographs of an ‘aura’, but with time it became clear that despite photography as a medium having a unique capability to convey the details, the print merely shows what a person looked like at the moment that the photograph was taken — nothing more or less than that.
Think of Behind the Gare St. Lazare by Cartier-Bresson, or Napalm Girl by Nick Ut, or the portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Avedon. These classic photographs show intent, aspiration, suffering, pain, ambivalence, and our ability to identify with those who are depicted in them. The power of photography is that it enables us to imagine ourselves in somebody else’s shoes. Whether it is street photography, photojournalism, or a portrait — we use all genres to understand ourselves better and reflect on others.
The very survival of humans as species is based on the understanding what and how we feel, empathy to people around us and working with each other. That’s why, in modern world photography it is as important as ever: people need visual images that reflect the connection between them — especially in such an inhumane world as ours.
Unlike documentary photography, working in the studio means the ultimate artistic freedom for me: I have a blank canvas in front of me, and I can do anything I want with it. The person on the other side of the lens is entirely in my power, and nothing stands in my way while I am looking for a perfect form.