Making Portraits – Choices
I’m inspired by the comparison portraits above from today’s NPR article, “For Modern Poets, a “Likeness” Could Evolve” (based on the current show at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.)
Same person, different perspectives.
Here’s Langston Hughes as a bellhop (with much soul), and as a professional, business-like writer. These images were both made in the same year.
Marianne Moore is young, romantically lighted. Almost 20 years later we have a different experience of her life in her clear, I-see-you gaze, posed in front of elephants.
A thought provoking reminder to those of us who take portraits –
How do you “see” (experience/feel/understand) the person?
What do you consciously include in the image?
Are you evoking your preferred expressions, or do you allow the subject’s natural expression to come through?
And if you’re the one looking –
“Who” are you being encouraged to see?
What qualities are there – and what may be left out?
Interesting in the article: insights re the dynamics of artists and their agents deciding what persona to be presented to the world, more examples of portraits that have changed dramatically as the person evolves (see Allen Ginsberg), featured poets reading their work…
(Camila Domonoske and Angela Evanciei, “For Modern Poets, a “Likeness” Could Evolve,” on the new exhibit, “Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets“ (see wonderful website) in the National Portrait Gallery,Washington, D.C.)