This week’s PotW is Lee Towndrow. Towndrow is an accomplished photographer as well as a visual effects designer and cinematographer. He was done work for Playstation, DirecTV, and HBO. He is currently a visual effects artist for The Mill.
In the gallery are three different portraits from one of Towndrow’s portfolios, but they produce similar effects. There are two things that I love most about these pictures: the lines and dimensions created by the backgrounds and the personalities captured.
When I hear the word “portrait” the first thing that comes to mind is a series of awful elementary and middle school photos with that dreary grey-blue back ground. These shots from Towndrow give that word an entirely new meaning. His backgrounds are simple, mostly neutral colors, but they do oh-so much for the shots. By adding lines and geometric shapes in the background, the pictures don’t seem so flat or staged. It gives the illusion of being part of the photo, as if the viewer is actually in the room with the subject.
The dimensions Towndrow creates with his backgrounds also serve structurally. The lines help to frame the subject in a way that focuses the viewer’s attention directly on them.
Lastly, and probably my favorite thing about the pictures, the personality. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but these are worth a lifetime of words. Human subjects can look staged or fake in a photograph, but these subjects seem so genuine and comfortable that it draws you in that much more as a viewer. You can see the ease with which the first guy holds the banjo and how honest he looks. In the second photo, it’s difficult to not see the happiness radiating from him. In the last photo, the man appears kind and peaceful. I feel like personality can sometimes be difficult to capture, but here Towndrow does it beautifully!