Adding a Chair to the Portrait Studio

For The Wise Photo Project, I’ve photographed people either standing or sitting on a red Victorian couch in my studio. So, when it became time to add a chair, I looked to Berenice Abbott for inspiration–she had a favorite chair that she posed people in and so, I went out looking for something similar, something with a bit of a style.

Berenice Abbott was a photographer in the early 1920s who moved from Ohio to Paris and made portraits while working for Man Ray. When some of his wealthy clients, including Peggy Guggenheim started asking for her to make their portrait instead of him, he fired her. She returned to the U.S. and settled in New York City. and documented its changing face as construction was prevalent. There’s a fascinating biography published in the last few years about her.

Berenice Abbott with her Century 8×10 camera.

She had a chair that is featured in many of her portraits that I always liked, so I did what any enterprising photographer would do–I went looking at local yard sales. There is a matching chair to the Victorian couch, but as it has no arms, it’s not good for posing.

Image result for berenice abbott portraits on chair
Author James Joyce
Image result for philippe soupaultberenice
Writer and poet, Philippe Soupault

The very first yard sale I went to, just 1/4 mile from my studio, there was a beautiful antique chair for the princely sum of $10. It had personality. It was decorative, but understated. I just made two more portrait for The Wise Photo Project, both men who came to my studio, and these are the photos in the new chair.

I’m happy with the chair. It’s one I can take on location and use where I can’t bring the Victorian furniture. My chair quest complete.

Now to making more portraits.

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Check out my YouTube Channel of Photography Talks: my 6×6 Portraits Blog (you’re here) and my Daily Photography Podcast. Thanks!

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