Guided by Rania Matar, explore different aspects of portraiture, learning to truly and intimately see your subject, and find your own creative voice in making a beautiful, powerful, and intimate portrait.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: This class will be held in a live, online format using the Zoom Platform. 
Class meets for 5 Tuesdays, Mar 26, Apr 2, 9, 16 & 23 from 10am-12:30pm ET.

Farah, Aabey, Lebanon, 2020 - Rania Matar
Farah was part of the young generation who had been protesting in Lebanon, during the popular uprising that had started in October of 2019, demanding to get rid of the corrupt government. There were factions trying to undermine the protests and they burned Farah’s car. We collaborated to portray the moment, immortalizing the car before it went to the dump. It was an act of resistance.

The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

In this day of iPhones, Instagram, and selfie culture, images of people are constantly part of our lives in more ways than they have ever been. However, capturing a powerful portrait goes well beyond the quick press of a button.

With guidance from Rania Matar, in this workshop, we discuss all the elements of what makes a good portrait and delve into the process of working with people. We learn through attention to detail, postures and expressions, approaching potential subjects, establishing trust and developing a relationship, working through the process and all of the details of creating a great portrait. We also discuss well-known artists, framing, environment, light, location, background, body language, expressions, the significance of the gaze, as well as the relationship of the photographer to the model throughout the entire process.

We will explore different aspects of portraiture: close-up portrait, environmental portrait, documentary portrait, collaborative portrait, self-portrait, group portrait, conceptual portrait, and more.

Through assignments, students will be encouraged to explore different aspects of portraiture, to truly and intimately see their subject, and find their own voice in making a beautiful, powerful, and intimate portrait.

Rhea lying in the sand while the ocean washes over her
Rhea is Lebanese and moved to the United States in 2020 after the explosions to go to college in New York. She reminds me of myself at her age. This image of her being in the water and out at the same time is almost a metaphor for being part of 2 places at once.

All images © Rania Matar

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Instructor: Rania Matar

Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, her cross-cultural experience and personal narrative inform her photography. Matar’s work has been widely exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and more. It is part of the permanent collections of several museums, institutions, and private collections. A mid-career retrospective of her work was recently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and at the American University of Beirut Museum. Matar received a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant, 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, 2011 and 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowships. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Foster Award at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, with an accompanying solo exhibition. She has published three books: "L’Enfant-Femme", 2016; "A Girl and Her Room", 2012; "Ordinary Lives", 2009. Her fourth book, "SHE", is published by Radius Books.