Making Figures Anonymous

Exercise Specification: Take some photographs that include a person or people in a particular place, but deliberately make them unrecognisable and, as a result, less prominent. Make between two and four photographs which use different techniques to achieve this.

Upon researching for this exercise, I noticed that a great technique to make figures anonymous was to capture them in silhouette or shadow. This enables the photographer to capture the figure; yet not the character/personality. This reminded me of one of Cartier-Bresson’s image ‘Behind the Gare St. Lazare’. The figure in the frame is completely anonymous due to the silhouette technique which hides the subject’s identity. The figure is also blurred through the motion of the jump, which further removes the clarity of the subject, and thus their shape, form and identity.


Image 1- In the first image I used several techniques to make the subject anonymous. Firstly, I captured the subject facing away from the camera; this alters the subjects relationship to the viewer, making them appear mysterious and unknown. Secondly, the balance of subject to setting is heavily centred around setting. The figure makes up a very small percentage of the image, and thus they remain anonymous. However, to ensure that the subject did not get lost in the frame, I quickly captured them against the white garage door; consequently creating a strong tonal contrast.  I further increased contrast of the subject in processing, making certain they stood out.

IMG_6527 (2)

Image 2- In image two, I used a silhouette to create an anonymous figure. The dark shadowed subject against the bright sunset background enables this figure to become unknown and mysterious. I under exposed the subject in order to achieve this. In comparison to the previous shot; the subject is definitely the central element to this image, yet is still anonymous due to the silhouette lighting which blocks out the subject’s defining features.

IMG_6568. (2)

All these techniques work in creating interesting images that can enable the photographer to capture scenes, showing how they are inhabited, yet without removing the attention from the scene itself by introducing a subject’s identity.


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