A Portrait of the Artist

What makes a photo a portrait? I recently visited the Laing Art Gallery for the chance to see Anthony Van Dyk’s last self portrait, which is now on tour across the country. The exhibition also features a selection of portraits by other modern visionaries and their own take on the idea of self portraits. In a world of snapchat and selfie sticks, it sometimes seems like photography it’s losing it’s status in the art world, particularly with portraits.

Of course, as a photographer I am bound to defend the cause! I believe that a successful portrait is more than just a flattering image. A real portrait shows something about the character of the subject and tells a story in itself. And speaking of stories, my portrait of the writer Daniel James will be featuring in his first novel which is being published in November this year.


This series of portraits were taken at Ouseburn at Newcastle, a great location for vibrant graffiti, loads of different textures and industrial architectural features. Can’t beat a bit of urban decay!


I chose a vintage film effect when editing these photos to fit in with the theme of the novel, and to bring out the vibrancy of the backdrop. I love the Pop Art feel of these photos, which reflect the main character of the book. The novel, entitled ‘The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas’, blends fact and fiction to tell the story of a journalist searching for the truth about a reclusive artist.


The style of photography I aimed for with this project was a sort of hyper reality, mirroring the almost mythical feel of the book. There’s a sense of intrigue and mystery about the portraits, and some feel almost like film stills.


The last photo from Leazes Park has a Lynchian feel to it, something that really fits in with the style of the novel – although I don’t want to give any spoilers here! The book will be published by Dead Ink in November this year, more details can be found at @thebleedmag or in the following article from the Northern Echo:


If you are interested in a photo shoot of your own you can contact me at helentaylorphotos@gmail.com or via my Facebook page

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s