What is it that makes a person photogenic?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Occasionally I have met people who do not look special in real life, but look amazing when photographed. Has it ever been defined what makes a person photogenic?
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Yes, beauty is one dimension, and casual innocence is another. There are, believe it or not, some very beautiful peole who are not photogenic. I believe that is because they try too hard to look good.
     
  3. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Utterly meaningless. What makes a person "nice?"
     
  4. rudolf

    rudolf Member

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    I wouldn't dare to answer this question. I feel every rule you can write here can be easily destroyed with random face you encounter in random place. No, no way.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Purity of heart. Inner beauty always shines through.
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    The local art college kept asking my uncle to come to model for portrait classes (painting). Appearently he had unusually very well balanced and symetrical facial features.

    What this has to do with the question -- I don't have a clue...
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Golly<<sighs>>I'm photogenic!
     
  8. zsas

    zsas Member

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    All are beautiful, I think the question really is, how does the photographer make that beauty shine?

    Also think this needs to be moved to photographic ethics/philosophy
     
  9. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Bone Structure most photogenic people aren't all that beautiful but have a strong bone structure (younger models) with older people an interesting face can have strong bones plus the added benefit of wrinkles. It's funny that most photogenic faces would be considered to hard or ugly outside the photographic world.

    Dominik
     
  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I did not expect such dismissive replies as this. Perhaps some misunderstand my original question, as I am asking for objective reasons why this is the case, not subjective responses as of define nice.
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I'm not sure about the former (except in theory), but I sure agree with the latter.
     
  12. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Seems more of an ethical or philosophical question, so I moved this thread from "Miscellaneous" to "Ethics and Philosophy." I have to say... I think most people can look good in a photograph from time to time, but there are some who just always look interesting in pictures all the time. Bone structure, expression, the eyes... all just come together. Georgia O'Keefe I think was quite photogenic, but probably not a traditional beauty in person, I'd guess.

    I'm interested in faces, and it doesn't matter a whit if it's photogenic in the "all American model" sense... bringing out something in a face in pictures can be hard with some people, but I think with persistence just about anyone can be photogenic, and have an expressive and interesting picture of themselves made.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011
  13. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Suzanne, sorry about putting this in the wrong section. However, it is not a flippant question, as I can testify that as a photography lecturer over the last 20 years, some people are photogenic and most are not and this has nothing to do with personal preference of beauty.
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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    "Photogenic" is a totally subjective term. It's not an absolute or quantifiable. I find it used to describe someone whose looks a photographer likes who took a photograph they like. Dismissive? Sorry.
     
  16. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    You are totally incorrect.
     
  17. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Jeesh, that's a relief!
     
  18. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Clive I don't think that cgw is incorrect at all, I once took a photograph of a girl I that I thought was very photogenic but the photographs that came out were total lackluster, the tought that the girl was photogenic came from my little brain not my big brain. Emotions of the photographer (Hormones) do play a role. If one doesn't have a strong emotional connection to the subject one might see the subject in a different light. But from a purely aesthetic point of view I still believe that a strong bone structure makes a photographic face.

    Dominik
     
  19. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I largely agree with you, and I don't think being photogenic has much to do with one's inner (or even outer) beauty. That said... since most of us live and work in the realm of the mostly unphotogenic (or barely photogenic) people, then how do you go about making portraits that are? I don't find the thought or question to be flippant at all, in fact, I think it's an interesting question, but since photogenic people like Georgia O'Keefe are so rare, it leads me to think about how to make portraits that elevate those of us not so blessed into compelling portraits. I mean honestly, half of Steiglitz's work was done just by working with someone so photogenic, and I don't mean to dismiss his talent, I'm an enormous fan, because I think he pushed the muse thing farther than just about anyone at that time, but what good fortune to have such a willing and photogenic model.

    You know, this is a great question, because now I'm thinking about Avedon, and I'm sure he had quite the eye for the photogenic, because those folks in his American West all were! At least in the picture, but I'll bet in person they looked quite normal... which has me wondering... was it the photographer? Was is his craft that made the portraits so interesting? Was it who he selected to photograph?

    Thanks for posing the question... has me thinking....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2011
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I think this is related to the phenomenon known as "the camera adds 10 pounds" :smile:.

    Slightly more seriously, as a photograph involves a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional object, I think it would be safe to say that some of the three dimensional features of some people render in two dimensions more easily and more effectively than other three dimensional features.
     
  21. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Kate Moss.
     
  22. zsas

    zsas Member

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  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have to disagree. While a good photographer should be able to take a good picture of any person, there are some who are simply more photogenic.

    A long time ago when I did test photography for a model agency, I saw all types: Those who look great but aren't at all photogenic, those who look great and are, and those who look quite ordinary but look great in photos.

    The biggest surprise was a pair of identical twins. I couldn't tell who was who during the photo session, and they swapped in and out and back and forth all the time - but in the pictures, one was photogenic and the other not. Or at least less so.
     
  24. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    "Beauty" has been objectively quantified, both geometrically and statistically... why does "photogenic" have to be subjective?
     
  25. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    For those of you who still do no understand, this question is not about beauty, sexuality, personal preference of the opposite sex, those you fancy. I am asking what makes a person photogenic? Be produced on photographic medium different to the way they look in real life.
     
  26. CGW

    CGW Member

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    According to which culture's aesthetic sense? C'mon.