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  1. #11
    clogz's Avatar
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    When talking about Cartier-Bresson's work the term "Decisive Moment" comes to mind. I imagine he spent some time taking in the scene and then waited for the right moment. And..always with the same old Leica and the same old 50mm lens.
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  2. #12

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    Aggie,
    I would classify the work of Dorothea Lange as portraiture. Very effectively composed and communicative.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  3. #13
    blansky's Avatar
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    David that is quite good.

    Let's take Brians example of the baby with the clicker. If he filled the frame and had the light to one side then we have a portrait?

    What about a picture vs a portrait. Say I take a picture of someone that I sit on front of me, is that a portrait?

    Michael McBlane
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #14

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    I have another observation, now that I think about it. How do you all feel about the effective portrait having the ability to communicate to the viewer an inner essence of the subject. Among the photographers who I have observed as having this ability was Karsh. I think that AA was effective in accomplishing this with his portrait of Edward Weston. Newman seems to be effective as well. Is this a valid appraisal of a portrait?
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  5. #15
    clogz's Avatar
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    Psychology does play an important part in portrait - or any - photography.
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  6. #16
    blansky's Avatar
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    A lot has been said in the past about the "inner essence" of a picture or portrait. Is it the inner essence when Karsh supposedly took Winstons cigar from his hand causing him to scowl. Is that really an inner essence. If you take a picture of someone in a bad mood and they look mad, is that an inner essence.

    Lets say you take an actor who makes their living pretending they are someone else, and are skilled at bringing up emotions, you photograph him making some sort of face or gesture. Is that an inner essence.

    Perhaps we are just photographing people in their myriad of moods and expressions. and calling that a portrait. Is that truly their essence. Everyone can display these faces.

    Just wondering.

    Michael McBlane
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  7. #17

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    Michael,
    That is an interesting point that you raise. I recognize your right to an opinion and questions that you have formulated for yourself. I sense a point of departure in your ideas from the things that have been written before about capturing an inner essence in a portrait.
    I would guess that no matter what methods that a photographer may use to capture the person photographed's way of relating to the world, it is after all their manner of relating to the world. I think that the accomplished portrait photographer, which I am not, is capable of accomplishing that in ways that I certainly can not.
    To lump all human beings into one catagory of "making faces" is "painting with a very broad brush" in my estimation. Each and everyone of us has very unique mannerisms, facial expressions, and body language that makes us distinct. The ability to bring these unique characteristics forward are what separates a good portrait photographer from someone such as myself. A snapshot photographer may get "lucky" once in awhile. A professional portrait photographer accomplishes this at will.
    I think that the despair on the face of the "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange was unique to that individual at that moment. I think that Ms. Lange exhibited a sensitivity that very few people ever realize in observing what was there before her and capturing that for posterity. I don't think that the despair was induced by Ms. Lange.
    Just as I acknowledge your right to question my observations, I appreciate your recognition of my right to a viewpoint.

    Regards,

    Donald Miller
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  8. #18
    blansky's Avatar
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    Donald:
    I agree entirely with what you say and could argue your point equally well as mine. I have "Migrant Mother' on my wall staring back at me as I write this. When I mentioned the actor in my last post I was contemplating whether an accomplished actress could be substituted and this photograph copied. Of course we hope not. But I wonder. I don't think the term making faces was what I really meant. Good actors are certainly doing more than making faces but are the emotions real.

    Another point, take the Churchill portrait by Karsh, if this was just an exective, someone we didn't know, would it have as high acclaim. So the fact that someone has celebrity, does that make it a great portrait.

    Annie Leibowitz's work, almost entirely of famous people, if they were just anybody, would some people still think they were great.

    I often look at famous portraits and see if they pass the test. Is it because we know them through their celebrity, or is it really a great photograph. Could I substitute an unknown face and would the portrait still stand up.

    There is a saying," If you want to be a famous photographer- photograph famous people". There are many celebrity photographer who publish books of their work and they are very well received. But are they great photographs or is it just because the subjects are famous.

    I don't have definite opinions on this. I'm asking. I've spent 27 years photographing people for a living and I contemplate these questions a lot.

    Your opinions are appreciated.

    Michael McBlane
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  9. #19
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (bmacphoto.com @ Mar 6 2003, 12:18 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Aggie @ Mar 6 2003, 12:25 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> on this question then, What about Dorthea Lange&#39;s Photos.&nbsp; were they portraits, or snapshots of a slice of time and place? </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    They were portraits, she didn&#39;t use a cheesy on camera flash </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I read this in a book on "Lighting":

    "On Camera Flash" :

    To the Artist - The worst form of lighting in the world.

    To the photographer who just won the Pulitzer Prize with it - The best form of lighting in the world.

    Come to think of it - One of my most favorite images of all time was taken with the sole lighting being an on-camera flash - The "Nude in the Tree" by Patrick Demarchelier.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  10. #20

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    To me, a snapshot is an image that is meant to be dated. To show the surroundings of a subject, human or otherwise, which may or may not, but usually is not planned.

    A portrait is an image which is timeless. An object which will stand on it&#39;s own 100 years from the day the shutter was fired. Usually to tell a story of the subject in conjunction or connection to it&#39;s surroundings.

    Narrow, thin, line, but I usually see one when louping my images.

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