Learn more about “Intimacy of Portraiture” with photographer Ramzi Mansour

Learn more about "Intimacy of Portraiture" with photographer Ramzi Mansour
Learn more about “Intimacy of Portraiture” with photographer Ramzi Mansour
We live in a wholly digital age where we are continuously overwhelmed by streams of images. Social media sites upload up to one hundred million images per day. Photographs and moving images are created with the most expensive equipment and even with a simple camera phone.

In the midst of this bombardment of visual stimulation how do photographers carve out the time to slow things down? We sat down with one such person, Cape Town-based photographer, Ramzi Mansour, whose work’s intention is to truly connect with his subjects in order to create authentic imagery; a style he calls intimacy of portraiture. 

Photographer Ramzi Mansour is making a name for himself in how he manages to capture so much heart and soul in his photographs. “I consider the intimacy of portraiture to be an honored and privileged position. In a world where follows and likes are chased across mediums the one thing that will always connect to both subject and audience is feeling.”

Intimacy of Portraiture is the art of photographing portraits through emotions rather than technical skills. According to Mansour, “The ingenuity of technically proficient photography and moving images is increasing at an alarming rate but if it lacks authenticity, it falls short of greatness.”

So how do we create authentic pictures?

Mansour says, “One needs to explore the vulnerability between subject and photographer. One cannot ask for authenticity from the subject if the photographer is not authentic in what they are hoping to produce.

It is imperative for your subject to feel safe and comfortable. When we feel safe, we can bring down the emotional and mental walls we have erected. We are no longer fearing what may happen but trusting what can happen.

When a subject trusts, the dynamic between photographer and subject shifts; it moves from the mundane to the vibrant and authentically creative. The technical aspect also shifts from being the most important tool in the photographer’s toolbox to being a piece of the puzzle, while intimacy shifts to being center stage.

A beautiful picture does not have to be technically perfect, nor does it have to feature perfect composition, exposure, symmetry, and so on. A beautiful picture must resonate with the audience.

Whether it’s one individual picture or a group of shots that tell a story, it just speaks to the viewer.”

According to Mansour, social media has irrevocably changed photography and continues to have a massive impact on its direction, “There is so much that can be done today with computer-generated filters and media but if we look to the greats of past their photos, even in today’s digital age, remain timeless and relevant. These photographers did not take photos for the validation of likes and follows but rather for their passion for creation. Their love for their art was their authenticity.”

Mansour summarizes his ideology in two important considerations, namely firstly, that he considers it a privilege to take someone’s portrait, “They have given me permission to capture a piece of them and have that moment preserved for all time. They have asked to reveal a part of who they truly are and to honor that I must be genuine in reciprocating the same back. I do that by being as authentic to myself as I am to my subject.” Secondly, he asks himself one important question, “I always ask myself, if this was the last picture ever taken of this subject, what would I want it to say? How would I want the world to see the very last picture ever taken of this person?”

There are millions of photographs uploaded every minute of every hour; photos that attract, that shock, that entertain, and much more. It is Mansour’s intention to create timeless images that speak to a vulnerable connection between subject and photographer where authenticity, intimacy and relevance can not only emerge out of each work of art, but rise to the cutting edge of modern photography to inspire those who follow in his footsteps.

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