Research: People in Photography – Editorial

As discussed within my previous post, I intend to find inspiration and ideas from both fine art and editorial portraits. For this, I will now focus more specifically upon contemporary examples of editorial portraiture.

The first example I came across was the photographic work of Dan Welldon, editorial and commercial photographer.


Based in London I shoot both in my studio and travel extensively for a variety of clients.
I started my photographic career in Scotland some 15 years ago (having travelled there in the first place to complete an M.A. in European Law!) I still love photographing a wide variety of subjects – mainly people (from actors to corporate and musicians) but also travel (fluent Spanish & Italian come in handy) and architecture.Clients:
Agencies include McCann Europe, The Bank Agency, Blink Productions, Another Production, Philosophy
Cosmetics clients include Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone, MAC, Dr Lewinns, Zelens, Filthy Gorgeous
Film/TV clients include C4, BBC, Ecosse Films, Shed Productions
Hotel clients include Hilton, Sheraton, Lanesborough, Scotsman, Folio
Publishing clients include Little Brown, HarperCollins, Penguin, Thames & Hudson
Editorial include Food Illustrated, Harpers & Queen, House & Garden, Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine, Men’s Health, Perfect Home, Room Magazine, Scotsman on Sunday, Spectrum Magazine, Tatler, The Telegraph, Tesco Magazine, Zest
NGO’s include Save The Children, Saving Faces
Record companies include Virgin Music, Six Degrees Records
Other clients include Prudential, Drambuie, National Trust, Moet & Chandon
The band Dr Schwamp
Throughout his work, there is a cohesive sense of the editorial format of environmental portraiture, each expressing a sense of character and recognition for the subject matter. This in terms defines the location, use of space, colour/saturation, composition and application of light. In much editorial and commercial imagery, there is weighed priority for lighting each of the subjects faces and forward facing, the eye contact of subject is an essential part of establishing their connection to its audience. There less flexibility of more experimental approach, although this isn’t an exclusive concept.

Another point of reference is James Alden, editorial, commercial and portrait photographer based in London.


Jason Alden
Jason Alden is an editorial and commercial photographer based in London.

A Londoner, born and bred, Jason left the City and moved to Sheffield to study a degree and postgraduate course in photojournalism. After graduating Jason built his reputation in editorial photography, first at picture agency Newscast and then as Chief Photographer at daily business paper City AM. Having developed his dynamic style, Jason began freelancing in 2007 and now primarily works for the Independent on Sunday and Bloomberg. His style and attention to detail has seen him travel to Europe, Asia and the Americas for reportage and corporate assignments.

Jason is the current UK Picture Editors Guild (2013); Bloomberg Business Photographer of the Year, he also won this award in 2012.

Jason is available for editorial and commercial commissions worldwide and would be happy to discuss any projects.

Jason’s work has featured in

The Independent on Sunday, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The London Evening Standard, The Telegraph, TIME magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times and The International Herald and Tribune to mention a few.

Commercial clients include

M&C Saatchi, SAB Miller, John Lewis, Park Plaza Hotels, Henderson Global Investors and Imperial College London.


The Press Photographers Year – The Arts – Selected, National Theatre Exhibition – 2010
U.K Picture Editors Guild, Bloomberg, Business Photographer of the Year – Finalist – 2010
Art of Photography Awards – Final Exhibition – 2011
U.K Picture Editors Guild, Bloomberg, Business Photographer of the Year – Highly Commended – 2011
U.K Picture Editors Guild, Bloomberg, Business Photographer of the Year – Winner – 2012
The Press Photographers Year – Portraits – Selected, National Theatre Exhibition – 2013
U.K Picture Editors Guild, British Airways Fashion and Entertainment Photographer of the Year – Highly Commended – 2013
U.K Picture Editors Guild, Bloomberg, Business Photographer of the Year – Winner – 2013

JAlden Barack Obama G20 summit

U.S President Barack Obama, G20 summit, London.

JAlden displacement camp, Lira, Uganda

Displacment Camp, Lira, Uganda

JAlden man with cataracts, Lira, Uganda

Man with cataracts, Lira, Uganda

Barclaycard World freerun championships

World Free Running Championships, London, UK


Christian Slater, Actor


Ricky Gervais, Comedian

There is still this sense of conventional editorial practice, however, Alden seems to prefer composition that are animated or intimate in their view of the subject. Like many other editorial photographers there is still an acknowledgement of celebrity portraits, rather than simply placing them in the same space and position within the frame but simply changing the location, each image feels individual. In certain situations, some of the rules of conventional portrait are ignored. For example, his portrait Barack Obama blocks our view of his face through position of his hand, yet it still engages me. There is still contact with one eye which feels emphasised more due an almost cropping effect and the position of his hand represents his expression and drive, reinforcing a sense of Obama’s character.

My next reference is Sean Maylon, editorial, fashion, portrait and commercial photographer.

Sean Malyon is an editorial, fashion, portrait and commercial photographer who works all over the UK, as well as overseas. He also shoots for Getty, Corbis and Image Source photo libraries.

He has a distinctive editorial style and specialises in photographs of people for advertising, corporate and editorial clients.


Sean maylon 1


Sean maylon 2


Sean maylon 3


Sean maylon 4


Sean maylon 5


Sean maylon 6


Once again, we are revisiting the application of the environmental portrait and represented a classic representation of the majority of editorial images featured within general news publication. The tradition method of expressing a subject through their occupation, leisure pursuits or an imaged personality for the purpose of their clients intended purpose for the image.

During my research, I also came across the creative work of Lauren Greenfield.

Unlike some my previous examples, greenfield undertakes fairly ambitious and thematic editorial publications, following a more concentrated subject area. Her documentary images and films seek to deal with issues relating to youth culture, gender and consumerism and do so very effectively.

Acclaimed documentary photographer/filmmaker, Lauren Greenfield is considered a preeminent chronicler of youth culture, gender and consumerism, as a result of her monographs “Girl Culture,” “Fast Forward,” “THIN” and other photographic works, which have been widely published, exhibited, and collected by leading museums around the world.

Her latest feature-length documentary film, “The Queen of Versailles” was the Opening Night film of Sundance 2012 where it won the Best Director Award in the U.S. Documentary Competition.  The Queen of Versailles was acquired by Magnolia Pictures on the first night of Sundance and went on to critical acclaim and box office success, winning the Brisbane International Film Festival BIFFDOC Prize, and Best Documentary nominations from the Director’s Guild of America, the International Documentary Association, Critics Choice, and the London Critics Circle Film Awards.  It was named on many Top Ten Films of the Year lists, including the New York Times, Slate, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, Art Forum, and New York Newsday.

In addition to “The Queen of Versailles,” Lauren previously directed three award-winning documentary films – “THIN,” “kids + money,” and “Beauty CULTure.” “THIN” was selected for the Official Competition at Sundance in 2006, was nominated for an Emmy for Best Direction, and received the prestigious John Grierson Award for Best Documentary at the London Film Festival.  “kids + money,” a documentary short about consumerism and young people, was selected for the Shorts Competition at Sundance 2008, won several Best Documentary Awards (AFI, Ann Arbor, Gold Hugo), and was named one of the top five nonfiction shorts worldwide in 2009 by Cinema Eye.  Greenfield’s 30-minute film “Beauty CULTure” was commissioned by the Annenberg Foundation and was the centerpiece of the record-setting and Lucie award-winning photography exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography in which she was a featured artist. The THIN and Girl Culture are also traveling museum exhibitions that have been seen by over a quarter million people in more than thirty venues around the world since 2002.

Greenfield graduated from Harvard in 1987 and started her career as an intern for National Geographic.  Since then, her photographs have regularly appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Time, GQ, and American Photo, and have won many awards including the International Center for Photography Infinity Award, the Hasselblad Grant, the Community Awareness Award from the National Press Photographers, and the Moscow Biennial People’s Choice Award. She lectures on her photography and films, youth culture, and body image at museums and universities around the world and serves on the Advisory Committee of Harvard University’s Office for the Arts. Greenfield has been named one of the 25 most influential photographers working today (American Photo), and was featured in the Getty Museum’s historical exhibition, “Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography Since the Sixties” (2010). In 2013, she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Greenfield lives in Venice, California with her husband and producing partner, Frank Evers (Class of “87), and their two sons.  She is currently at work on a major museum exhibition and thematic retrospective book entitled “Wealth: The Influence of Affluence” to be published in 2015.


Greenfield graduated with Honors from Harvard in 1987 with a B.A., majoring in Visual and Environmental Studies (VES). Her Senior Thesis photography project on the French Aristocracy was called “Survivors of the French Revolution”.  This project helped start her career as an intern for National Geographic Magazine. A subsequent grant from National Geographic provided financial support towards her debut monograph, “Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood” (Knopf 1997).  Five years after the publication of “Fast Forward”, Greenfield produced a second monograph about the self-esteem crisis amongst American women, entitled “Girl Culture” (Chronicle Books, 2002),

Since starting her career in 1991, her photographs have been published in leading publications around the world, including the The New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Times Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine,Stern, The Guardian, Le Monde, Paris Match, D – La Repubblica, Time, Vanity Fair, People, National Geographic, ELLE, Harper’s, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire.

Museums and exhibitions

In addition to her books, “Fast Forward”, “Girl Culture”, and “THIN”, Greenfield has produced three large-scale traveling exhibitions with the same names, which have exhibited in museums and cultural institutions around the world.

Her photography, including bodies of work like “Fast Forward”, “Girl Culture”, and “THIN”, is now in many major collections such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), theSmithsonian National Museum of American History, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Harvard University Archive, the Smith College Museum of Art, the Clinton Library, and the French Ministry of Culture. She is represented by the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York, the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco.

Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood

In concert with the publication of her debut monograph, “Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood” (Knopf 1997).  Her first major show, “Fast Forward” had its US debut at the International Center for Photography (ICP) on April 25th, 1997 and was extended two additional months due to high attendance and critical acclaim (April 25 – September 7, 1997). The show has exhibited in France, Holland, Italy, Russia and a number of cultural venues in North America.

Girl Culture

The success of her second monograph “Girl Culture”(Chronicle Books, 2002) and the accompanying show (same name) helped to cement her worldwide reputation as documentary photographer. The book was reprinted five times by Chronicle Books and the show was exhibited at more than 29 venues around the world (France, Germany, Holland, Russia and USA).


Her third major exhibition, THIN, accompanied both a feature length documentary film, Thin (film) (HBO, 2006), and a published photographic book, THIN (Chronicle Books, 2006).  The exhibition debuted at The Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas and continued to exhibit through 2010.

The Annenberg Space for Photography

In March 2009, Greenfield was chosen to be a Featured Photographer  (alongside Julius Shulman, Tim Street-Porter, Douglas Kirkland, Greg Gorman, Carolyn Cole, Catherine Opie and John Baldessari) in the inaugural exhibition at The Annenberg Space for Photography, “L8S ANG3LES”.

In May 2011, Greenfield was invited for a second time to be a Featured Artist at The Annenberg Space for Photography, as part of its exhibition, “Beauty CULTure” (Los Angeles, May 21 – November 26, 2011), as one of only four Featured Photographers (alongside Melvin Sokolsky, Albert Watson, andTyen).  In addition to being highlighted as a Featured Artist with prints of her work appearing in the exhibition, Greenfield was commissioned by The Annenberg Space for Photography to direct a 30 minute documentary film about the subject of the exhibition. The resultant documentary film formed the centerpiece of the exhibition.  Attendance by the public to the “Beauty CULTure” exhibition broke all prior attendance records.  In October 2011, the exhibition received the Lucie Award for Curator(Kohle Yohannan)/Exhibition of the Year.

Getty Museum

From June to November 2010, a collection of her photographic work from “Fast Forward” and “Girl Culture” was featured in “Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography Since the Sixties”, a record-breaking photographic photographic exhibition at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, curated by Brett Abbott.  Her work was exhibited alongside similarly curated collections byLeonard Freed (Black in White America), Philip Jones Griffiths (Vietnam Inc.), W. Eugene Smith (Minamata), Susan Meiselas (Nicaragua: June 1978-July 1979), Mary Ellen Mark (Streetwise), Larry Towell (The Mennonites),Sebastião Salgado (Migrations), and James Nachtwey (“The Sacrifice”).  In October 2010, the exhibition received the Lucie Award for Curator(Brett Abbott)/Exhibition of the Year.


Undergraduate Years (Harvard 1983-1987)

In 1986, Greenfield traveled around the world on a year-long undergraduate program created by the International Honors Program (now called SIT Graduate Institute), entitled “Film Study and Anthropology” and led by Harvard professors Vladimir K. Petric, Robert Gardner and Akos Oster.  This experience exposed her to anthropological and documentary film-making in France, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, India, Australia and Japan. Upon her return, she continued to studied film-making under the tutelage of established documentary filmmaker, Robb Moss. In 1988 she co-directed a 25 minute film, entitled “Once You’re In” (1988), about Irish illegal immigrants living in Boston.


In 2006, Greenfield was commissioned to direct her first feature-lengthdocumentary for HBO about eating disorders, entitled THIN (see Thin (film)), and has published an accompanying book with the same title. This feature documentary film was selected for the Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. In September 2006, Greenfield received the prestigiousJohn Grierson Award for director of the best feature-length documentary at the London Film Festival 2006. This film also picked up the Grand Jury Prizeat the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Newport International Film Festival, and the Jackson Hole Film Festival. She also received an 2007 EMMY nomination for Best Director of Non-Fiction programming for the film, THIN (see Thin (film)).


In 2007, Greenfield directed a short film about Los Angeles kids and their relationship to money. Selected interviews were released online by the New York Times Magazine in December 2007   Greenfield continued to film Los Angeles youth and released a 32 minute documentary short in 2008. HBOlicensed North American broadcast rights to “kids + money” in 2008, and the film was distributed to broadcasters and cable networks around the world.

“kids + money” was selected as one of the top five nonfiction shorts in the world by Cinema Eye Honors 2009.  The short also won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the AFI Film Festival 2007, the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film at the 2008 Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Gold Plaque, Documentary:Social/Political from The Hugo Television Awards 2008, and Best Documentary Short at Kids First Film Festival 2008. “kids + money” was also selected into the Official Shorts Program at the Sundance Film Festival (January 2008).

Beauty CuLTure (The Annenberg Space for Photography)

In February 2011, the Annenberg Space for Photography commissioned Greenfield to direct a short documentary film, “Beauty CULTure”, to make up the central focus of this record-setting[33] “Beauty CULTure” exhibition (May – November 2011).  Shot in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, this 30 minute film is a critical examination of “…beauty in popular culture, the narrowing definition of beauty in contemporary society, and the influence of media messages on the female body image”.

The Queen of Versailles

In January 2012, Lauren Greenfield received the Sundance Film Festival’s Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary feature film, entitled “The Queen of Versailles”, which is scheduled for a theatrical release in 2012.  Previously, “The Queen of Versailles” was selected for the U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival 2012 (The world premieres of 16 American documentary films). ” The Queen of Versailles” was further honored by being selected to be the opening night documentary film for the Sundance Film Festival.  The film was acquired by Magnolia Pictureson the first day of the festival.  Also in 2012, she was awarded the Grand Jury Prize from the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFFDOCS), a second Best Director Award from the RiverRun Film Festival, the Special Jury Documentary Feature prize from the deadCenter Film Festival.  On October 22, 2012, “The Queen of Versailles” was nominated for Best Documentary Film, 2012 by the International Documentary Association (IDA).  According to PBS/POV, The Queen of Versailles was ranked #2 of the Top 10 Documentaries of 2012, based on awards, nominations and other ranking criteria.

Short Films

Greenfield has also directed a number of documentary shorts and multimedia pieces:

    • Best Night Ever (2012) a 7 minute short documentary for GQ Magazine
    • Become (2011) a series of documentary shorts
    • Fashion Show (2010) multimedia with photo, video and audio
    • Foreclosure: Death of the American Dream (2009) – multimedia with photo, video and audio
    • Ben Gals (2008) – multimedia with photo and audio
    • Teen Spa (2007) – multimedia with photo and audio
    • Jackie Warner (2007) – multimedia with photo, video and audio
    • Teen Lipo (2006) – multimedia with photo and audio

Ms. Greenfield is represented by Chelsea Pictures, Stockland Martel,and INSTITUTE for Artist Management).  She was a member of the VII Photo Agency from 2002 to 2009. She is married to Frank Evers (Founder/CEO,INSTITUTE and the Co-Founder of the New York Photo Festival),  with whom she has two sons, and they reside in Venice, California.


    • THIN (Chronicle Books, 2006)
    • Girl Culture (Chronicle Books, 2002)
    • Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood (Hard cover Knopf, 1997; soft cover Chronicle Books 2002)


    • The Queen of Versailles Produced by Evergreen Pictures. US Theatrical release by Magnolia Pictures in July 2012.
    • Beauty CULTure (Commissioned by The Annenberg Space for Photography, produced by Evergreen Pictures. Launched in 2011),
    • kids + money (Commissioned by The New York Times and produced by Evergreen Pictures. Broadcast on HBO in 2008)
    • THIN (Commissioned by HBO for broadcast, 2006)
    • Once You’re In (Student film, 1988)

Within her impressive portfolio, I focused upon editorial stories and then started by focusing upon child pageants, as this has been the subject of much discussion in recent years.

laurengreenfield - editorial- child pageants

laurengreenfield - editorial- child pageants1

laurengreenfield - editorial- child pageants1(1)

laurengreenfield - editorial- child pageants2

laurengreenfield - editorial- child pageants1(2)

laurengreenfield - editorial- child pageants3

laurengreenfield - editorial- child pageants1(3)


What really strikes me about this series is how artificial her subject appears, this is especially the case with the last image which is my favourite of the three.

This is due to the visual contrast between Deliz and her doll, both appear plastic and inanimate. There’s certainly an uncanny quality that defines the image and speaks of pressure to fit within the conventions of femininity. To me, the result is a series that speaks with depth and conviction.

This further serves to reaffirm the importance of context and application with editorial images.

I then moved on to look at her archive of magazine spreads, as a means of determining how such editorial images would fit into a their intended context and layout.

laurengreenfield - editorial- magazinespread1 laurengreenfield - editorial- magazinespread2 laurengreenfield - editorial- magazinespread3

A lesser known photographer who follows much of the traditional editorial portrait format within her work is Mel Curtis.

I was born, raised, and educated in Ohio. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an artist; I’ve wanted to travel, to discover things. Photography was one of the many things I studied in college. I lived in Washington DC for several years, working as an art director, until one day I quit and decided to make photographs until something better came along. Nothing did. It has been 40 years since I got my first camera. I still own it, and I still love to make photographs

My life is a balancing act between the worlds of commerce, art, and academia. I enjoy them all, but they feed each other. They have taken me places I may never have gone to otherwise, like the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay, Paris, the White House in Washington DC, five summers teaching in Rome, and an afternoon at a Yakima middle school.

My photo heroes are Eugene Atget, Daune Michals and Ross Chapple. Like my heroes, I strive to capture authentic moments in my work. I use the camera to create a sense of order and elegance. I have always viewed my photography as an act of discovery, a journey to see something I have never seen before.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”
Lewis Carroll

MC - UW-T_14Jul1213Jul12_155 MC 11Lee_25Mar12_117 MC 14Kace_20Nov11_387v2 MC Connie_16May12_37

I have also revisited the work of previously mentioned practitioners as means of demonstrating the contrasting audiences and visual approaches that photographers utilise within fine art projects or personal work against that of editorial images or more strictly defined commissioned work.

One example of this is Elinor Carussi.

Elinor Carruci - Editorial - people 1 Elinor Carruci - Editorial - people 2 Elinor Carruci - Editorial - people 3 Elinor Carruci - Editorial - people 4 Elinor Carruci - Editorial - people 5 Elinor Carruci - Editorial - people 6


This aspect of her creative work is heavily contrasted from that of her fine art projects. However, there are still elements within them in which you can see her photographic approach trying to break through the restrictions of placed by her intended clients. Some of the images feature composition that try experiment with the models position with the frame, often without direct eye contact or less formal and expressive.

To conclude, I believe I have developed upon my knowledge of editorial imagery, considering when and how it can be appropriate to be more formal or more experimental. There is also a sense of the relationship between an editorial photographer and their client, progressive trying to meet a compromise between artist vision and fulfilling the intentions of its intended audience.


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