The Intimate Portrait

Jess T. Dugan's picture
Jess T. Dugan
Week 6: July 12 to July 17
ORIENTATION: July 12, 6:00-7:30 PM
WORKSHOP: July 13-17, 9am-12pm
Discipline: Photography
Open to All

On-site Housing Not Available
Workshop Description 

This workshop is part of SOCIAL JUSTICE WEEK


Making a photographic portrait is an intimate endeavor, requiring both photographer and subject to work together to create a compelling image. The best portraits are often as much a reflection of the maker as they are of the subject. In this workshop, participants will investigate their motivations for making portraits, strengthen their skills working with people, and engage deeply with issues in contemporary photography.  


Through critiques, presentations of classic and contemporary portrait photographers, demonstrations, and the daily creation of new photographs, we will investigate the elements that make a compelling portrait, including composition, lighting, subject, pose, gesture, and environment. We will focus in depth on strategies for working with subjects, including strangers, family, friends, and the self, gaining insight into methods for making emotionally resonant, visually dynamic photographs.


We will photograph digitally and will edit and print using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. While these elements require foundational technical knowledge, the workshop will focus primarily on the emotional and conceptual elements of portrait photography. At the conclusion of our week together, participants will have gained skills for making compelling portraits as well as meaningful insight into their own photographic practice.  

As part of your materials fee, you will be given ten sheets of photo paper for making prints. Additional sheets may be purchased from the Work Center for $1 per sheet.


Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. Her work is regularly exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several major museums. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, an ICP Infinity Award, and was selected by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change. She is represented by the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, IL.