Woman, potraits by Ivan Berg

Women portraits by Ivan Berg

Women portraits by Ivan Berg - Credit: Archant

Fellowship House in Hampstead Garden Suburb hosts a photography exhibition of head and neck portraits which are unvarnished and untouched

Women portraits by Ivan Berg

Women portraits by Ivan Berg - Credit: Archant

Ivan Berg’s portraits are the antithesis of todays curated social media selfies and Apps that can change faces to be almost unrecognisable.

Posed with every sitter wearing a black top to merge into the same black background, his full frontal face and neck portraits of women are unvarnished and untouched.

Berg hopes that they capture the personality of the subjects; with the lens set at eye level to focus on the sitter’s gaze, which looks straight at the viewer as if to say ‘Look at me, looking at you, for I am me.’

Berg “sculpts” his portraits through a dramatic illumination known as Rembrandt Lighting, similar to that used by the Dutch master and legendary film maker Cecil B DeMille.

He didn’t set out to create such portraits but says the idea “emerged slowly, with two very patient sitters and hundreds of shots with different lighting and poses. There was a ‘Eureka’ moment when I knew that I had found what I had been looking for.

“I now see myself as more of a portraitist than a photographer, I have become fascinated by faces and how very different they are. I have concentrated on portraits of women because since the advent of glamour photography in the 1930s I think, photographs of women, and in particular, young women, have become more and more unreal.

Most Read

“Lighting is softened to flatter the skin, poses are coy and smiley, and post-production retouching and ‘Photoshopping’ are on an industrial scale.”

Artist Alyson Hunter says Berg’s portraits are “arresting because they are shot without the artifice usually used to portray women.

“It’s refreshing to have the female portrait move into the reality of women’s lives, and occupy a space that generally only male portraits inhabit.”

Berg, whose debut exhibition WOMAN runs at Fellowship House in Willifield Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb adds:

“Come to me if you want a portrait of who you really are, not someone you would like to be.”

The free exhibition of 30 portraits runs throughout March Tuesday and Friday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.