Personal photography projects can be incredibly beneficial to your growth as a photographer. Whether it be a 365 or a series of self-portraits, it will stretch you beyond your safety zone. And what could be more fun than seeing what personal projects the CMpros are up to?! In this new series, we’ll feature a different CMpro and follow along as they show off some of their images and share about their unique project. Today we are excited to have Allison McSorley here to talk about her project, Faceless Project!
faceless project | allison mcsorley
What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
My personal project is about using light and context to tell a story about my subjects without the benefit of eye contact. My style is very much driven by the connections I am able to capture between my subject and the camera. I have always been drawn to portraits that use eye contact to tell a story. Because of that, direct eye contact has become a recurring theme throughout my work. But after receiving some positive feedback on one of my first faceless images, I though it would be fun to challenge myself to create memorable and moving images without the benefit of direct eye contact or even faces.
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
Finding creative ways to work with my uncooperative children has always been one of my biggest challenges. Often times I have a specific idea in mind that requires some level of cooperation on their part. They, on the other hand, have their own agenda, which does not include making their mother happy by cooperating for a photo session. I’ve been at this long enough to know what they respond to though and I’m not above resorting to bribes of lollipops and iPhone apps if necessary. When all else fails, I photograph them while they are sleeping or resort to using a cooperative adult. Never underestimate the appeal of a willing and quiet model! Ultimately though, my biggest challenge is to be less of a director and more of a storyteller, to capture the mood being expressed rather than control it. The images I’ve captured strictly as an observer are the ones that mean the most.
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
Without the face, and specifically the eyes, to provide emotional cues, I have learned to pay close attention to and rely on my subject’s body language to convey the mood within the image. I’ve also learned that images without eye contact can often be just as effective, especially when they include interesting compositional elements such as dramatic light, leading lines, depth and atmosphere. This project has also made me realize how much I appreciate capturing everyday moments in both an artistic and authentic manner.
Allison McSorley, New York
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Allison currently lives in Brooklyn with her Coast Guard officer husband and two children. Like many new moms, she picked up a camera early on as a means to document the milestones and fleeting everyday moments in her children’s lives. Since then, she has become passionate about creating artistic, meaningful and genuine images of her children and their journey through childhood. Allison’s gear consists of a Nikon D700 and a couple primes lenses. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, chocolate, latte dolces, her iPhone, and exploring New York City.