We all have some memory of having our portrait taken—and I’m not talking about the thousands of snapshots and selfies we’ve amassed over the years for profile pictures and social media posts. I’m talking about a real one. A professional one. At a photo studio.
For an article I’m writing about the portrait studio and the (now trending) temporary photo studio for the July issue of Rangefinder, I interviewed Caroll Taveras, a photographer worth watching if you don’t already know her.
Not only does the native New Yorker take editorial portraits of celebrities like Lena Dunham, Isabella Rosellini and Mark Ronson, but she stages her personal projects in pop-up photo studios at locations like a former London dental office, an empty office space on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and at MOPLA in California, photographing everyday people who come off the street for a chance to sit in front of a 4×5 camera and have their portraits taken.
I caught up with Taveras at Underline Gallery in NYC, where her exhibition of portraits and photo collages opens tonight. The best part of the interview, aside from her contagious exuberance, was that she asked me to sit for her “Let Yourself Go” series in which she invited the public to make appointments to have their photos taken at the gallery.
The premise of this series: make her subjects laugh!
So I awkwardly sat in front of her large format camera (I’m also a photographer and am rarely in front of the lens), decided I had to lose that workday blazer, and began to laugh immediately out of sheer nervousness. But the real laugh—that “shot”—however, came from her whipping out some “your momma” jokes. And I was sold! (Though I still look a little hesitant!)
Do you have any personal stories about having your portrait taken? We’d love to hear them! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org