Defining Environmental Portraiture

Hello, World!

I describe an environmental portrait as a photograph that reveals something to us about the essence of the subject through their surroundings (you could even call it their habitat). For example, Herb, Retired Farmer gives a peek into the life of a 95-year-old resident of the Belmond retirement community. He’s a widower who does his own healthy cooking—notice the sweet potato on the counter. I often think of the kitchen as the heart of the home, intimate in its own way. His living space is a little institutional, but it has Herb's personal touches. One thing that stood out to me was his traditional work shirt and jeans. Through these elements the photograph shows that he is old school, but has adapted to where he is in life. Thanks to environmental portraiture, the viewer learns about who the person is and what’s important to them. When making decisions about how to frame a photograph, I spend some time observing how a person interacts with their space in order to convey them in a way that reflects to me who they are.