Exercise 1.2 Background as a context
I have been studying August Sander and some of the people who were inspired by him like Diane Arbus, Douglas Huebler, Robert Mapplethorpe and Jason Evans. I may be guilty of drilling too deeply into the idea that the character of a person will be reflected in and image, I think Sanders idea that the character can be conveyed by expression, clothing and background is true however it is equally possible to make someone into something they are not using the same technique, I am almost certain that the identity of the person in the picture is a creation of the photographer. If the photographer decides to shoot a picture to convey a persons real character then it probably will but equally if the photographer decides that his image will show a fictional character then it also probably will. the degree to which this is effective is down to the skill of the photographer.
The 1980 movie the shining starring Jack Nicholson is famed for this Iconic image
In this image we see a crazy man who has just broken through the door with an axe, that is not the personality or character of Jack Nicholson, it is the personality of the character he plays, here the background facial expression and hair all add to the illusion created by Nicholson of the character he is playing. This is an image that was set up by the photographer to convey the character not the actor
In the image I took for this exercise the profession of Dog Walker is made obvious by the attire and the pack of dogs set in the woods. You can decide for yourself by looking at the Exercise here: Exercise 1.2 Background as a context