One Man Six Portraits: Canon Australia Project
Six photographers took portraits of the same man for a video titled ‘Decoy’ as a project for an ad campaign titled “The lab” for Canon Australia. They were each told different stories about the background of the man. Thinking the man they were capturing was a millionaire, an ex-convict, a psychic, a lifesaver or a fisherman.
Photographers from around Sydney were all taken to the same studio, they were given the same props but their representation of the man differed drastically depending on who they thought the man was. This was exactly what Cannon Australia wanted to highlight within the photographical practice, that the photograph was defined as much as what is in front of the camera as what is behind it.
The “fisherman” was photographed as a common man with a sense of humour who is relaxed and down-to-earth.
The “psychic” was a mysterious man who was very deep. In the photograph the second chair behind him represented his connection to others, often unseen.
The “ex-convict” was a brutal and strong man who had a bad history behind bars.
The “millionaire” photograph was only a close capture of his face with no props or background, which demanded attention only to the person. This man was intriguing, interesting and someone to be understood.
The “lifesaver” was a happy and humble man that was also very courageous.
The “alcoholic” was a troubled man with shame, worry and a desire to change. The water bottle next to him symbolized his dedication.
This project of Cannon Australia challenged the conceptions about photography. It gave new meaning to the role of the person being photographed and the subjective approaches the photographers have depending on who they are photographing. Upon seeing the results, even the actor who portrayed all these characters was surprised.