Oct 30

‘The Attitudes: Work in Progress’ at Make Space Open Studios 2016

Striking a thespian pose with work-in-progress showing of portrait series ‘The Attitudes‘, supporting charity Acting for Others, as part of the free Make Space Studios Open Studios 2016.

Strike an Attitude!

Strike an Attitude; images from the project to date!

The Attitudes

It’s our annual Open Studios at Make Space where I’m based, this coming weekend, so time to share where I’m at with a current piece of work.

What makes good acting? Melodramatic & absurd, funny & truthful, the dramatic photo-portraits in this ongoing series explore the portrayal of emotion on stage & screen, in the past and the present.

'Stealth' from a Manual on Acting (1870)

‘Stealth’ from a Manual on Acting (1870)

The Attitudes were a school of stage acting that held sway for centuries, whereby actors learned specific postures to communicate emotions like fear, despair, joy, or love. There are nearly 100 in ‘A Manual of Acting’ (1870).

Using these classic Attitudes as a starting point, I work with an actor, either aiming to bring the historical pose alive, or finding a modern version through their physical skills.

Some poses seem deeply melodramatic or laugh-out-loud funny to a contemporary taste, but it’s not always possible to tell the difference; others ring surprisingly true today.

And while one might assume that to a modern eye, schooled in on-screen nuance and close-up detail, would privilege naturalistic acting as ‘best’, there is a universality to the some of the most heightened poses, that tells you in an instant what they mean and why.

Attitudes logo1To create a timeless feel, and as a study in physical expression through light and shadow, each image is shot with only one light source and one reflector.

Most are taken within 10 minutes, largely thanks to the supreme skills of the highly-trained subjects! Several, including ‘Silence’ featuring Gemma Arterton, and ‘Modern Stealth’ featuring David Gant, have already won awards.

I’ll be displaying around 18 prints as part of the work-in-progress; the project will eventually feature 70+ striking, fine-art quality portraits, culminating in a book & full exhibition that aims to raise funds & awareness for charity Acting for Others.

Dates & Location

Location: Unit 36, Makespace Studios, Newnham Terrace, SE1 7DR. Just 5 minute’s walk from Waterloo.

Private View (By invitation, please email michaelwharley@michaelwharley.com to attend)

6-10pm Thursday 3rd November.

Open Studios

11am-6pm Sat 5th November.

11am-3pm Sun 6th November.

About Acting for Others

Acting for Others offers financial & emotional assistance and support to entertainment professionals working on or offstage, behind or in front of camera, who have fallen on hard times. actingforothers.co.uk /

Donate at https://www.justgiving.com/ctcafo

Make Space Studios Open Studios 2016

This work-in-progress showing is my contribution to the annual Make Space Studios Open Studio event.

60+ artists and creative business on site will be throwing open their doors, so that you can explore the working life and art of practitioners across every discipline from illustration to puppeteering, ceramics to glass blowing, screen printing to fashion design, and many more.

There’ll be a host of activities for families and the chance to buy all sorts of unique festive gifts.

See you there!

30/10/2016 MW


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