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How to Shoot Portraits without People

Here’s a riddle! Or the toughest photo assignment ever.

How do you shoot a portrait without any people in it? Or a landscape without any land?

While thinking about how Ansel Adams might shoot that second one is fun, we’re totally enamored with Camilla Catrambone’s response to the first.

She shoots portraits of people not by having them sit for her but by laying out a person’s belongings and photographing that instead!

Camilla shows us her grandfather with an old rotary phone, a watch, a well-worn leather briefcase. Her grandmother — a red comb, a collection of silver spoons, a pearl necklace.

It’s the things we choose to surround ourselves with that tell the story of who we are.

Photographing a person’s possessions is a way of bringing that person to life. What a way to solve a riddle.

Also, see: Scanography — self portraits via scanner and What’s in your bag?

Portraits of My Family by Camilla Catrambone

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