The featured image is from a documentary portrait series that I did entitled ‘Living with HIV’. It was shot using a Pentax 6 x 7 camera with a 165 mm lens, Kodak Tmax 100 ISO film. It was lit using a flash mounted on a light stand and bounced into a silver umbrella. I printed the hand print, and it is one of my favourites.
The idea of writing HIV across the subject’s forehead came about when I half jokingly asked him if he would agree to me doing it, and after discussing the issue of how we humans tend to label people, to my amazement he agreed for me to write HIV across his forehead – he did not want see what he looked like until I showed him the contact sheets from the shoot. The image is all about how we label people, with a negative undertone. “Oh he’s HIV”.
You will see that I used the same theme when commissioned by The Jewish Museum to shoot for their Identities Exhibition.
As a London professional photographer over the years I have often been asked to photograph people or situations which needed to be approached with a little extra sensitivity, and I feel most professionals would do this without thinking.
If you would like to know more about documentary portrait photography, please contact me.
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