Fleeting moments of random beauty: fine art in portrait photography.
An iconophile at heart, I am drawn to the almost tangible persona that can be experienced within portrait photography and the planes of two dimensional space, a type of hypostasis if it were possible. ”For, things that mutually illustrate one another undoubtedly possess one another’s message” (Second Council of Nicaea 787). Granted, the church was speaking in regards to the disputed practice of the veneration of icons, but the idea itself does lend well to photography in a sense. Successful portrait photography, in whatever form, can communicate a deeper and more thoughtful message that causes the viewer to stop and think. Candid expressions convey a truth that the staged “SMILE” photography will never be able to grasp. This is why a good model is not one who can act well, but rather, one who can allow themselves to simply be while being observed. Today’s portrait photography is a far cry from the early days of the 1800s where stoic expressions were the result of technical deficiencies and slower exposure times. As you can probably tell, I prefer a more thoughtful expression with my subjects for no particular reason other than I think it contributes more to the shot while I focus on the relationship between the subject, the background, and the foreground. What I have discovered is that no matter the effectiveness of the presence of the model, any shot can be something to stop and ponder when that afformentioned relationship balances well within itself. A good presence is just icing on the cake.
Portrait photography and the marketability of visual relationships.
What makes for good portrait photography? I suppose that is up to the viewer and the consumer to decide, but photography as a piece of art is relative only to a degree. Ultimately there are standards that must me met in order for it to be effective and at the same time, marketable. I have learned that having a confident and thoughtful subject is always a great place to start. Where the magic really begins to take shape happens in the eye and in the mind of the photographer. Understanding how to balance the visual planes of space and integrate them well to house the subject makes an image more cohesive and, as a result, more marketable. I will be going into this more later on in the blog with various techniques that I have learned along the way. To see an example of successful portrait photography and it’s marketability in action, read more about the novel “If I Stay” and the face that graced the cover.