My colleague Annabel Moeller and I photographed each other for the profile page of our corporate portrait business (currently on hold). It was an exquisitely painful and self-conscious process for the both of us - you can't use patter or be objective (essential!) when you know someone. So it was an unusually cold, awkward and purposeful shoot, and not, then, despite being friends, but because of it.
Well, we got through it in the end, and while I (think I) like the shots, I don't feel that they're 'me'. I might normally put this down to the fact that many people dislike both the process and the results of being photographed. But it's simpler than that: we wanted to appear professional, so I shaved, donned a suit, and put on my best smile. Yet I never wear a suit. I never shave. And in real life I'm not even very sure I smile much anyway.
But then, perhaps my opinion is just coloured by my experience of the shoot. Knowing what went into it, from the lighting to the lens, the angles to the processing, I can't help but regard them as formulaic and posed. Or, at least, less natural/sponatenous than they might have appeared without this understanding. I guess some of our judgment on the worth of a photo will always be influenced by context and background, as I've talked about previously.
It was at least useful in terms of putting myself in the shoes of a subject - but for the moment I'll keep using the shot below (by James). It was one of only a few very brief shots I think I recall were taken purely as a lighting test! Hyper-candid portraits - if you will - as I wasn't posing, or expecting to keep them on the card, but merely standing in place to see the effect of his new lights.
Or perhaps I just prefer it because it's been edited with the Awesome Filter Plugin™.