Phil Borges


Borges tends to work very closely to his portrait subjects, using a small lens aperture to ensure that every detail of the subject is sharp. Yet the background is thrown out of focus, because it is so much farther away. Borges employs this sharp/unsharp effect, and strong studio lighting, to make the person the center of attention.

"I was inspired by Irving Penn's classic portraits of native people, taken in front of seamless backgrounds. Although I usually include the background, it's always secondary. These pictures are portraits of individuals, not representatives of some exotic group."

The square portraits are made with a Hasselblad 6x6cm single-lens reflex and a 50mm or 80mm lens; the panoramas with a V-Pan 6x17-cm view camera (custom made in St. Louis, Missouri, by Chet Hanchett) and a 90mm, 120mm, or 210mm lens. Borges uses 120-format KODAK TRI-X Pan Professional Film for most of his work.

When shooting in particularly harsh lighting he switches to KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX Black-and-White Film T400 CN. To emphasize the distinction between subject and background, he selectively tones the prints with KODAK Sepia Toner.

Phil Borges


About the Artist
  • Biography
  • Phil's Mission Statement
  • Photography Process
  • BRIDGES to Understanding

  • Hangorzul

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