For two decades fashion model Louise Vyent posed in front of the camera for such magazines as Glamour, Harpers Bazaar and American Vogue, but recently she decided to take her experience and apply it on the other side of the camera.
About six months ago the Montclair resident opened up her teen portraiture studio, and now she is offering a photography class for teens and tweens. Traveling the world, the Dutch native was photographed by such industry icons as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Arthur Elgort, and she brings the invaluable knowledge she gained as their subject to her work in the studio and in her class.
While Vyent photographs all ages, she chooses to focus primarily on teens. “They are really interesting to observe,” Vyent said. “They are in this awkward stage where they want to show off who they are but are still insecure.” She added, “I like the innocence and sort of guardedness they have.”
With all that guardedness one would think teens would be a tough subject but not for Vyent. Her relaxed style and lack of rules when working with her subjects helps them open up and express who they really are. Ultimately her goal is to “make it into their vision – how they would like to be photographed.”
“I let them be,” she said of her approach. “When I’m in their space, it’s really about them.”
Vyent doesn’t want to force anything in her photography although the same may not be true of some of her older clients. “Adults want to see a happy, smiling group of people, but to me that’s not interesting. I come more from an editorial standpoint – like I’m documenting something.”
That aesthetic translates to her work in making portraits more akin to artwork than simple photographs. And that’s what students in her class will have an opportunity to learn. The class is one on composition – not technical instruction so students should come with a good working knowledge of his or her camera. Vyent will guide her students in what good photographs look like and how they can capture them.
“It’s really about vision,” Vyent said.
Teen Photography Class
Who: Photography aficionados, ages 11 to 18.
What: Small group composition photography class.
Where: Vyent’s Montclair home. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 917.224.3386.
When: Sundays, January 9 – February 27 from 3:30 pm to 5 pm.
(Photo: Louise Vyent)