PDA

View Full Version : Gotta start someplace !



Pages : 1 [2] 3

jolynned
05-20-2008, 11:01 PM
The best portraits are those where the neither the photographer. nor the sitter sublimate their ego, but find some common ground, and get to know each other. YMMV, of course, but that's my experience... I need to allow them a moment, and then they may offer me the gift of their expression, and I hope to find it precisely when it's offered...

Suzanne, I completely agree. Being a brief part of someone's life and having to get to know them in such a short time is so incredibly rewarding. And when you find an image where you know you captured them perfectly...it's magical.


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b214/jolynned/2-web2-1.jpg

jnanian
05-21-2008, 12:00 AM
i can't really put my finger on what a portrait is and isn't.
it seems that portraits capture the essence of a person.
it is the result of a dance the taker and subject do together -
(part theatre and part excavation) ...
there is a barrier we put up to keep people and life out,
a portrait sometimes reveals who is behind the barrier,
or who that person wishes was behind the barrier.

Ray Heath
05-21-2008, 02:12 AM
a portrait, or any artwork, is whatever the artist, the viewer or the artworld want it to be

Nicole
05-21-2008, 05:54 AM
A portrait is not necessarily a picture of just the person, environmental portraits and portraits in the third person (evidence of a person without actually being in the picture) add another interesting dimension worth exploring to the genre. Careful with the third person as this can often also be seen as a still life.

Vaughn, very nice! The tall timber country looks magical!

Vaughn
05-21-2008, 06:18 AM
snip...
Vaughn, very nice! The tall timber country looks magical!

Thanks, Nicole, the redwoods are wonderous. The series not only reflects the growth of my boys, but also the growth of my relationship with them, their use of body language, how they relate to their dad's photography and our adventures together in the landscape. The series is growing along with all of us. I do feel the need to step it up a notch...just tossing the boys into the landscape is fun, but I don't just want to repeat myself. There are a lot of changes going on that I would like to incorperate into the imagery.

Vaughn

Lori V
05-21-2008, 07:04 AM
Vaughn,

Breathtaking.

Nicole
05-21-2008, 07:05 AM
Hi Lori, nice to see you here.

Lori V
05-21-2008, 07:19 AM
Hey Nicole...thrilled to be here.

and your work continues to inspire me. girl, you're good.

catem
05-21-2008, 07:58 AM
Defining portraiture is interesting - although I also find that as I go on I am less and less drawn to definitions.

Categories from an aesthetic viewpoint (as opposed to technical) do worry me a little - there is often something that doesn't fit. Also, some work straddles, or defies boundaries. It can be like squeezing something into a box that is really too small, rather than placing something in a nice big box, and carefully placing packaging around it.

(I would really like a place to discuss film types, lighting etc. relating to a particular 'genre' - for want of a better word. In some ways I would find categories easier for this).

Following with interest, though..

SuzanneR
05-21-2008, 08:26 AM
I don't see why we can't discuss technical issues with regard to portraiture is this area of the forum, and I think it will prove useful as we build an archive of information in this genre. Doesn't mean some things won't apply to other genres of photography, but it focuses the discussion nicely for those, like myself, who may be attempting to improve their portraits. (There's always room for improvement, it seems... )

And framing some of the "how's" of the conversations to the "why's" of the conversation can serve to foster a creative and inspiring atmosphere. After all, sometimes you see the image in your head, and even understand why you want to make it ... but can't quite find the "how to make it... ". This strikes me as the perfect place for both questions.

And yes... definitions can meander with photography...

jimgalli
05-21-2008, 10:11 AM
http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/Night_in_the_OLD_West/BobPerchettiJailS.jpg
Bob Perchetti

anthony 8X10 studio camera with a Voigtlander #6 Series II Portrait Euryscop 13.5" f4

Combine a shy and retiring middle age guy with low self esteem and a passion for antique portrait lenses and techniques and you come up with a need to photograph the very thing you're most terrified of. Other poeple.

Some of the same things that caused me to stop being shy long enough to find a bride 37 years ago have kicked in again for this project. I just want it to happen and sort of force the issues.

The big surprise is that no one that I photograph is surprised. Once I've overcome my own barriers, the rest falls into place quite easily. People seem to be more than gracious and willing to meet you beyond half way. I guess what I'm saying is 'if I can do it, anyone can' although the techies here might decide I really didn't. One of the barriers I had to get beyond, especially with the antique equipment, is perfectionism.

df cardwell
05-21-2008, 10:16 AM
brilliant jim

(sometimes the cage helps)

bjorke
05-21-2008, 12:01 PM
My usual catchphrases apply well to portraits:

whatever you can get away with art is the revelation of the specificity of things

obviously "portrait" -- even "successful portrait" -- can be extrememely formal and the process quite dead. A driver's license snap is consensual, in focus, properly framed. It is a success as defined by its purpose.

Photography's relationship to time is so important to portraits. Today's portrait is not tomorrow's. I think humans like to look at portraits because it lets them feel close to someone who is not there. That includes portraits like, say, your daughter when she was four, though you still see her every day (at age six). It can include people who you have never otherwise "met." Depending on the viewer, the associations can dwarf the tiny image (Barthes has obviously written a lot about that one, "Camera Lucida" is all associations without even showing us the pic!).

Viewed in this way, the driver's license becomes not so much a picture of person "X," but in some ways it is a portrait of the State Authority -- the value of the "Resemblance" is not so great. You could carry any picture of yourself. What the police want to see is THEIR portrait.

I'd even go so far as to say: Portraiture is almost always about ownership.

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/pix/bjorke_steps2h.jpg

catem
05-21-2008, 01:06 PM
And framing some of the "how's" of the conversations to the "why's" of the conversation can serve to foster a creative and inspiring atmosphere. .... This strikes me as the perfect place for both questions.


Yes, I agree. & it's great to have room for both (which you can't always separate anyway!).

And some great pics on this thread, by the way...

S'konow
10-19-2008, 05:51 PM
Combine a shy and retiring middle age guy with low self esteem and a passion for antique portrait lenses and techniques and you come up with a need to photograph the very thing you're most terrified of. Other people.

Same here. Except I'm a shy woman in her 30s with low self esteem and a Nikkormat FTn. One of the things I admire so much about Diane Arbus is that she was so afraid of people that she forced herself to go out and photograph them. I've never been able to summon up the courage. I think that's why I love photography so much; I can hide behind the camera and see people without being seen. However, if you're taking someone's portrait, they're looking right at you, and that freaks me out. (Got a bit of the old social anxiety.)

A couple of months ago, I forced myself to meet some internet friends at a park in Portland for an end-of-summer picnic. I brought my Nikkormat (and my puppy) with me, and after about two hours I finally took my camera out and started taking pictures. I only had the courage to photograph two people directly; the rest were taken when folks weren't paying attention. I was so nervous, my hands were shaking. I figured they would come out crappy, but when I got my film back, I was really surprised at how well they turned out.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3245/2932319895_824ecd9f4d.jpg?v=1223773353

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3220/2933177824_3c6cfeae55.jpg?v=1223777073

My mom goes to lunch at the local senior center every week. For my next attempt at people photography, I would like to tag along and take some pictures of her and her friends. I tried this once before with my Holga, but none of them turned out. I would also like to bring my camera to work and photograph my co-workers, but I work in a (veterinary) lab and I'm not sure if that'd be a HIPAA violation. I should probably ask.

Frank Szabo
10-19-2008, 06:39 PM
Portraiture attempts to capture the essence of a being, perhaps human, perhaps animal.

Many photographs of people are excellent in technicals and convey what the person wants; i. e., the executive wants to project power, etc.

Occasionally, the photographer actually seems to have captured a soul and not just some stray light on the silver. We've all seen those photographs. Even the best professional has trouble catching the soul as it's rather slippery - more so than a greased pig. The techs sometimes aren't even that great; nonetheless, there's the essence of the person laid bare in front of you and you wonder how you did it.

That's a real portrait.

johnnywalker
10-19-2008, 07:09 PM
A couple of months ago, I forced myself to meet some internet friends at a park in Portland for an end-of-summer picnic. I brought my Nikkormat (and my puppy) with me, and after about two hours I finally took my camera out and started taking pictures. I only had the courage to photograph two people directly; the rest were taken when folks weren't paying attention. I was so nervous, my hands were shaking. I figured they would come out crappy, but when I got my film back, I was really surprised at how well they turned out.


The first portrait is great, well done. The second one looks like Atillita the Hunette coming at you! I hope she was just kidding around!

S'konow
10-19-2008, 09:00 PM
The first portrait is great, well done. The second one looks like Atillita the Hunette coming at you! I hope she was just kidding around!

Thank you. Yes, she was just kidding!

"Are you taking a picture?"
"Yes."
"ARRRR!"

TheFlyingCamera
10-19-2008, 10:56 PM
Limiting the definition of a portrait to something animate or living is overly restrictive. A portrait can be of a place, a thing, as well as of people or animals. That said, the common thing connecting portraits is that they depict a characteristic of the subject that may not be immediately obvious to the casual observer.

Jeff L
10-19-2008, 11:08 PM
A portrait has nothing to do with the subject, and everything to do with, or the likeness of the artist (or photographer). I think it was JL Seiff that said that- I think.