Exercise 3: Portraiture typology

In response to the work of the artists you’ve read about so far, try to create a photographic portraiture typology which attempts to bring together a collection of types. Think carefully about how you wish to classify these images; don’t make the series too literal and obvious.
Once complete, post these portraits on your blog or in your learning log, with a written statement contextualising the work.



Image 1 of 6

Photographers use typologies for visual classification. A typology being is the study or interpretation of types of things.

Key elements of typologies include:

  • Uniformity and consistency of presentation
  • Ability to see similarities as well as differences
  • Provide historical record (August Sander / Bechers)
  • Attribution within a category or type
  • Re-present archives (Arwed Messmer und Annett Gröschner)

In this series, I have created a typology based on non-posed photographs, culled from two family weddings. At weddings people tend to have their best photo-face ready and put a lot of effort into looking their best. Often I find some of the most interesting images come from non-posed but candid moments.

It’s not the most obvious typology and only kind of work, but the exercise has helped me understand typologies better and its effectiveness as a photographic tool.

Nicholls, Jon Exploring photography as a tool for visual classification with August Sander, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ed Ruscha and others.https://www.photopedagogy.com/typologies.html (accessed 09/01/2023)