Richard Davis, FRPS, MSc, photographer, London, UK
British imaging expert specializing in editorial and advertising photography of people, architecture, cars, aircraft, aerial and travel since 1977. In 2006 Richard became qualified to act as a consultant colour scientist, helping his clients obtain accurate colour reproduction with their projects. Richard has also taught imaging to professional photographers in workshops in UK and South America and has participated in "The Big Arts Week" when artists are chosen to teach in schools. Through voluntary work he has also helped with the opening of a shelter for street kids in São Paulo, lectured to health care professionals in UK about Down's syndrome and orgranised conferences and seminars. He has also acted as mentor to other professional photographers through his work for the Royal Photographic Society as a judge on their qualification acceptance panels.
The Richard Davis PhD proposal;
As well as the above I am curently applying for funding to carry out research into what makes a portrait photograph photogenic. Here are my reasons for wanting to do this research.
I have worked as a photographer for more than thirty years and am a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), with my own successful photography business. I have also completed an MSc in digital colour imaging. On numerous occasions I have been amazed that the person I have met and thought had attractive facial features appears un-photogenic in a photograph. Conversely with some of the groups I have photographed it has been the person I least remembered in the group who turns out to be most photogenic.
conducted a survey of portrait photographers and have come to the conclusion
that the same phenomenon happens to them, and that even experienced photographers
sometimes fail to recognise a photogenic or non-photogenic subject in
the flesh. I have become fascinated to discover exactly what happens to
a three-dimensional face, which seems to me photogenic, when it is 'flattened'
by the optical image formation process. I suggest that the following areas
would need to addressed in this research investigation:
A vital question to answer would be whether a photogenic portrait depends more on the image or the observer. If it is image-based then factors such as lighting, contrast, sharpness, naturalness, motion, as well as the reproduction medium (gloss, size, density range, colour gamut, etc.) will need to be analysed. If it is observer-based then factors such as age, experience, expectation, context, associations (cultural, social, ...), gender, fashion and social class will need to be investigated. Skin colour and its accurate reproduction could also be a factor, which should be examined using the 'colour calibrated' apparatus in a psychophysical laboratory.
Davis, FRPS, MSc
|Receiving my Master of Science (MSc) degree in Digital Colour Imaging awarded by the University of the Arts London (London College of Communication - Elephant and Castle) in June 2006.|
There is a blog site at;
where you can have your say about why you think a photographic portrait is or is not photogenic. Please visit the blog and leave me some feedback. Also of you are a professional photogtapher and are interested in this subject then you can take part in my survey by emailing for for a survey form.
Hand Made Photos by Maria (my wife)