personal photo project: faceless project

  • the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

Personal Photography Project of Allison McSorley

faceless project

the personal photography project of New York photographer 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.

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

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.

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

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.

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

the personal photography project of New York photographer Allison McSorley

About the Author:

Allison is a natural light photographer who specializes in dramatic light portraiture, with the bulk of her work demonstrating a strong emphasis on directional light and meaningful connections with the camera. She is passionate about creating artistic, meaningful and genuine images of her children, and teaching others to do the same.

29 Comments

  1. Carrie Yuan Jul 25 2013 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    I love this project. Beautiful work, Allison! I’m gonna have to start using iPad time as a photography bribe!!!

  2. Kristen Ryan Jul 25 2013 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Love your work and your project Allison!! Always stunning and perfectly captured 🙂

  3. Celeste Pavlik Jul 25 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Fabulous series of photos Allison!! <3

  4. Lauren Jul 25 2013 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Love this series Allison! The images are lovely!!

  5. Jo Lien Jul 25 2013 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    I love this project, Allison! My favorite is the sixth shot. Gorgeous!

  6. Brennan Jul 25 2013 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    I love them all…I can’t pick a favorite. Beautiful and inspiring as always!

  7. Veronica Jul 25 2013 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous work Allison!

  8. Allison McSorley Jul 25 2013 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Thank you, everyone! I appreciate all of your wonderful comments!

  9. Kelly Tonks Jul 25 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Just wonderful in every way

  10. Azka Jul 26 2013 at 12:29 am - Reply

    These are absolutely gorgeous! So inspiring!

  11. Gina Jul 26 2013 at 12:54 am - Reply

    Allison, gorgeous! Your use of light is stunning!

  12. Mickie Jul 26 2013 at 7:23 am - Reply

    These are beautiful! Love the storytelling!

  13. Erica Jul 26 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Beautiful work, Allison!

  14. Stacey Jul 26 2013 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Oh man, I just love your work Allison! So beautiful and inspiring.

  15. Dani Jul 26 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Love your work Allison! I need to tackle this project with Isla. 😉

  16. Lisa Benemelis Jul 26 2013 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Beautiful work, Allison. This inspires me to pick a personal project.

  17. Alicia Gould Jul 26 2013 at 10:51 am - Reply

    I love this Allison! Your work is always inspiring, thank you!

  18. Sarah Wilkerson Jul 26 2013 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Just beautiful!!

  19. Bree H Jul 26 2013 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    I adore this project of yours, Allison <3. Beautiful work!

  20. Melina Jul 26 2013 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    What a great project Allison!! Beautiful pictures!

  21. nicole Jul 26 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I am a bog fan of your work, Allison! This is a beautiful project!

  22. Amy Jul 26 2013 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Beautiful project Allison! I think you’ve captured so much emotion for photos that don’t show any eye contact or faces!

  23. Adele Humphries Jul 26 2013 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Really love this project Allison!

  24. Allison McSorley Jul 26 2013 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for all the love everyone! <3

  25. Jessica Reischel Jul 27 2013 at 1:42 am - Reply

    Weeeeeeee!!! So inspiring!!!! Thank you!!

  26. Tricia E. Jul 29 2013 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Love these!

  27. Dana Jul 31 2013 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Such a beautiful project, Allison… that first picture is stunning!

  28. stacie Aug 03 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    These photos are absolutely incredible!

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