This week I did a literary portrait for Gail Gallant. Gail arrived at my studio on Wednesday feeling a little flustered and nervous about the session. I could tell she was shy, guarded, and stressed about having her photo taken. We ended up having a great time though. She is a beautiful, expressive subject. She just needed casual upbeat conversation to feel more relaxed so she could forget about the camera on her and focus on our interactions.To me, the most important thing about making a good portrait is reading my subjects’ moods and personalities, and working with what they bring me. Here is what Gail had to say about her experience:
“I’ve never liked having my picture taken. I prefer to be behind the camera, and being a fiction writer who spends a lot of time inside her own head, I tend to shy away from that sort of attention. When my literary agent told me I had to do this, it brought out my worst fears. I was worried the photo would capture something negative, that I would look tired or stressed or aging or self-conscious or timid or fake. I booked the session with Melanie, because something about her work caught my eye. During the session, she made me forget all about what I didn’t want to look like, or thought I should try to look like. Instead, she got me to trust in myself, with no second-guessing, and that is a quite a gift!”
~~ Gail Gallant
This portrait by Melanie Gillis was created to accompany Gail Gallant’s latest book, “Apparition”, scheduled for publication this coming September.