Deadpan photography

Peter Forsgård has an interesting video about deadpan photography, something I honestly had never heard of.

But it turns out that some of my favorite photographers, like Alec Soth and William Eggleston, practiced deadpan photography.

So what is it?

We can read one definition here:

While there are a handful of different definitions, the most popular is that a deadpan photograph is devoid of emotion. It simply exists as a subject and photograph, yet it seems to be empty. There is no joy or sorrow, although some can argue that the deadpan itself is a mood of its own. Famous photographers who use this aesthetic seem to be completely detached from the subject that they are photographing, and the word ‘indifference’ seems to describe the photograph perfectly.

And a bit more from the same source:

The deadpan photograph simply says “this is how things are”. Deadpan portraits show people in their natural state, typically not showing any sort of emotion. These subjects are not posed, are not dressed up for the occasion, and seem completely honest. The color of deadpan photographs is commonly de-saturated. While not completely devoid of color, the colors tend to be muted.

Peter Forsgård (video above) and many others include German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher in the founders of deadpan photography. They traveled around Germany and photographed the industrial landscape they found, like coal mines, furnaces, factories etc.

If I’m a deadpan photographer I don’t know, but I think I am at times. I like walking around in the world and shooting what comes in front of me, not thinking so much about what something is, as if the photograph will be interesting.

Are you into deadpan photography? If so, what do you photograph?