The Deadpan Diaries
Supriya Joshi photographs a memorable trip by making unconventional portraits of her sister, Priyanka, during their travels.
- Description: To create an interesting travelogue by making portraits of my camera-shy sister.
- Duration: Ongoing.
- Notes: I’m excited to photograph Priyanka’s reaction, if any, when she sees this project.
There are several people I know who hate being photographed… one of them is my sister. While she is a hilarious, animated person in real life, this fact just does not translate into photographs. Point a camera at her and she will freeze, her face turning into a blank stare. My parents gave up long ago, but I still persist. Even if it is a bad photo, it is still something that will serve as a memorabilia for years to come.
During a recent family trip to North India, I decided I would make pictures of my family, irrespective of how they react. While my parents were more than willing, Priyanka became a portraitist’s nightmare, as usual. When I asked her to pose, she froze. When I asked her to smile, she gave me her patented deadpan expression. On several occasions, she refused to have her picture made as well.
But I continued and we made a deal— if she allows me to photograph her, I will not ask her to smile. She agreed, and that was the beginning of The Deadpan Diaries.
The best thing about India is the amount of kitschy, sometimes ridiculous art and unusual locations that abound in the country. A sullen, blank-looking Priyanka juxtaposed with colourful backgrounds seemed like a great idea to me.
Whenever I would spot an interesting backdrop, I would ask Priyanka to stand in front of it and ‘pose’. I had no idea about what we would find in every location we went to, so every photo I made during the trip was incidental.
The best part about this project, however, was that I used a cellphone to make the images. The carefree, nonchalant nature of cellphone photography lent itself well to the theme of my project.
It has been a few months since our trip, and I look back at the images I made during the project with much fondness. If there is one thing I learned from photographing my camera-shy sister, it is that you must keep making pictures of the people you love. The memories will last you a lifetime.
For this series I used the Instagram app on my Xolo Q800 cellphone to shoot. I used the same app to add a filter and for subsequent uploads.
Things to Keep in Mind When Photographing Your Family
- Be Silly: Don’t take yourselves too seriously! Pose in an unusual manner, capture various expressions… and just have fun!.
- Learn from the Paparazzi: Follow a family member around and treat them like a celebrity. Even if they get annoyed, persist, for unique shots.
- Be Involved too: Family photos are no fun if you’re not in them. Take selfies, or put your camera on self-timer and become part of the frame too.
Tags: On Assignment, portraits, Supriya Joshi, travel, family, april 2014, instagram, Sister, Travelogue, Trip, Vacation, Deadpan, Diary