View Full Version : The Inspiration Thread

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05-21-2008, 09:20 AM
I thought it might be an idea to have a thread for portrait photographers who inspire us. As wide (or not) a definition of what a portrait is as you like :)
A place to dip in and out of from time to time.

I'll start it with one of my all time favourites - Jane Bown, a photojournalist who has taken more formally styled portraits as well as those in a documentary style. There's a good selection on this site if you go to photographs (sorry, can't link directly to individual pictures).

Also take a look at year 1954, "gypsy child" - maybe not a 'conventional' portrait, but to me a tremendously powerful portrayal of a small person, one that I've held in my memory for a long time.

Ray Heath
05-21-2008, 09:39 AM
g'day cate

you've got to admire photojournalists

the ability to quickly see, capture and inform

my all time favourite, W. Eugene Smith, c.1955


05-21-2008, 10:24 AM
Don Normark, Chavez Ravine, 1949

Being an equipment junkie of sorts it is a further inspiration that Don did this body of work with a little Ciro-Flex TLR camera that will hardly fetch $12 on Ebay. A constant reminder that the next silver bullet isn't gonna make me any better (i just like 'em).

I look at these over and over.

Ray Heath
05-21-2008, 06:11 PM
g'day Cate & Jim

i can't believe their are so few posts here

this one from the American/Australian Bill Bachman


df cardwell
05-21-2008, 08:42 PM


05-21-2008, 10:33 PM
edward cutris


05-22-2008, 12:20 AM
http://k53.pbase.com/o4/98/316398/1/61501604.PortraitofGermanindustrialistAlfriedKrupp July61963inEssenGermany.jpg

05-22-2008, 01:11 AM

05-22-2008, 01:21 AM
E.O. Hoppe as far as studio portraiture goes...but I mostly admire his other types of pix.

I would say August Sander, but those aren't really portraits when you get down to it.

Most of my favorite portrait photographers were mainly photojournalists and/or documentarians, but I do like Hoppe's work in studio, so that's what I put here. He did much typology as well, and did it all over the world.

Ray Heath
05-22-2008, 01:35 AM
E.O. Hoppe as far as studio portraiture goes.

I would say August Sander, but those aren't really portraits when you get down to it.

Most of my favorite portrait photographers were mainly photojournalists, but I do like Hoppe's work in studio, so that's what I put here. He did much typology as well, and did it all over the world.

g'day all

why not post an image?

how is Sander's work not portraiture? because he was trying document a race rather than an individual?

how does one insert rather than attach an image?

this one by Arno Rafael Minkkinen, he calls it a self-portrait


Tony Egan
05-22-2008, 05:20 AM
I think Australian Marco Bok has a wonderful body of work. Those obsessed with labelling might say it is street photography but to me it is very powerful portraiture. He does not appear to have a strong web presence but a few images at the URL below. This do not represent his best and most gritty work in my opinion, due to the commercial nature of the site, but a bit of a taste nonetheless.

05-22-2008, 05:34 AM
My inspiration is fluid, and frequently changes. So, I recently got a Dorothea Lange book, and was quite taken by this...

Michael W
05-22-2008, 05:39 AM
I know Marco & he is an excellent photographer. He was included in the Sydney Now exhibition so his photos will be in the book, which I haven't seen yet. He's been working for a couple of years documenting the alternative kids who hang out around the Town Hall steps & Hyde Park. He could definitely do with more of a web presence. He did have a site that wasn't updated for years & now seems to have vanished.

05-22-2008, 10:52 AM

Ezra Pound by Hoppe

Benny Mussolini

I say Sander's work was more typology than portraiture. Typology is more documentary. He was trying to document a society at a particular time rather than to tell us about an individual or group. A "portrait" of a society, some might say, but I would say it's closer to a "study" of all the types that made up that society. In doing this at first, he inadvertently made a social statement that he soon realized would get him in big trouble. Later he realized that his documentary project ran deeper than the straight documentation he had originally set out to do. It was a big deal at that time to show people from all classes of society in the same manner, on the same level, without placing one over or under the other, without ignoring certain classes, and to do it as objectively as possible. Soldiers, farmers, homosexuals, factory workers, tradespeople, gypsies, homeless people, you name it, presented alongside the higher-class folks. Just cuz the subject is a person doesn't necessarily mean it is portraiture, IMO. The work is genius, but I don't hold it as inspiration for "portraiture". Definitely for other things, though.

To insert an image, you can type in the HTML, I believe. There is also a "mountain" icon above the text cell. You click it and then are prompted to paste the location of the pic...but copy the address of the pic first, because once that pop-up window comes up, you can't do anything else.

05-22-2008, 11:29 AM
August Sander DEFINITELY inspires me. I think his work is portraiture to the core. In looking at his work I don't feel like he was just recording faces. In most of his images I feel he has established a personal relationship with the subject which extends, through the photograph, to me.

John Bragg
05-22-2008, 12:08 PM
Eve Arnold. A truely great portraitist.




05-22-2008, 03:00 PM
Think it's O.K. to have more than one go!

Lee Miller

self-portrait (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/graphics/2007/10/02/miller400.jpg)

her site (http://www.leemiller.co.uk)

below- (look better on the website) Nusch Eluard; Henry Moore in London Underground; Collette; Dylan Thomas

John Bragg
05-22-2008, 07:23 PM
James Ravilious.


05-22-2008, 07:43 PM
Suzanne that is a wonderful portrait by Dorothea Lange. I've admired her work for some time. I have so many books it's very difficult to give just on or two images to as examples. I'll have to come back to this when I have some free time.

df cardwell
05-22-2008, 07:45 PM
James Ravilious.


neat stuff, john