Lecture: Weather Conditions in Portrait Photography


Lecture by Tania Ost in conjunction with the “My Theme” Lecture Series

The weather is indisputably essential to the outcome of a photograph, and often it is a motivation for taking up the camera: dramatic cloud formations, color-intensive sunsets, swaths of fog that make high-rises disappear into thin air. In contrast, one might think that the weather plays only a minor role in photographic portraits, if any. However, a closer look reveals that weather—both as a natural occurrence or simulated in the studio—serves to frame the portrayed individual with an atmosphere, which impacts the image in different ways or even has a concrete effect on the depicted person’s appearance. In the bright sun the eyes squint, or hair is tossed by the wind. In portrait photography weather can be more than simply a source of light or a backdrop, it can potentially express the mood of the captured moment, determined by the prevailing weather.

Tania Ost (*1979 in Karlsruhe), studied architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt. While working as an architect she also studied visual communications at Offenbach University for Art and Design. Since 2011 she has been working at the university as a research assistant and doctoral candidate in the Art History Department. Her research deals with “long-term projects in portrait photography.”

The “My Theme” series provides emerging scholars from Frankfurt and the region the possibility to present their core research interests to a broad public as part of the events program of the Frankfurter Kunstverein. The main focus of the series is to provide exciting insights into current research, not classical academic lectures.