What is a Portrait

A Portrait. What is a Portrait. I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time. It stayed in my head over the holidays. I did some digging to find out what some “heavy weight” people in the industry are saying about it. These are just a few of their thoughts that I found and I liked.

 

“A Portrait is a evocation of a person, gives the sense of that person, doesn’t necessarily need to look like the person but it would have to give some impression. ” Lesley Stevenson, Senior Paintings Conservator

 

“To me, a portrait is a creative collaboration between an artist and the sitter and it is unique in that sense as an art form, that’s what makes it really different from other art forms.” Sarah Saunders, Deputy Head of Education

 

“A Portrait can be many, many things, that depends on the one who takes the Portrait, who makes the picture and on the sitter, because the sitter chooses, most of the times, the person who makes a Portrait of him and he hopes that it represents him. That’s all.” Gert Sander, grandson of photographer August Sander.

 

“I would see a Portrait is a picture of the individual human being that places emphasis on the uniqueness, simple as that.” Sandy Moffat, Artist

 

“I think a Portrait is normally thought to be the sort of visual representation of someone, normally that’s in oil paint or might be a sculpture carving but I really like the idea of a Portrait being the sound of people’s voices.” James Holloway, Director Scottish National Portrait Gallery

 

“I think a Portrait is a representation of an individual, usually an individual, a human being, by another individual, and it’s a created object that acts as a kind of remembrance of that person.” Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director of Scottish National Portrait Gallery

 

“It’s like being enlove, it’s the same thing, you never know how it happens, but if it happens right, a good outcome will come out of it.”  Gert Sander, grandson of photographer August Sander.

 

“Portraits of rulers from the early Medieval period often did not depict the actual appearance of the living ruler, but the “imago” of a Roman emperor in whose succession he felt himself to be standing, by “tanslatio imperii”.
Contemporary portraits, however, are made within a cultural and artistic context with deep questions about the nature of identity, of representation, and of authenticity.
Today, technology is transforming both the medium and the subject matter of Portraiture, changing how we think about human identity: to portray the essence of a person, do we show the face? DNA? surveillance data? shopping transactions? ” Richard Brilliant, Professor of Art History and Archaeology, at Columbia University

 

 

Even funnier, when I have asked my friend, the artist Raluca Vescan, she told me: “If I think of a Portrait, the first image that comes to my mind is the Native American that was running away from the camera, scared that their soul would be stolen…”

 

 

I guess everyone has its own interpretation of it. What is yours ?

 

For me, a Portrait has a deeper meaning. It shows you, the person that is being photographed, a side of you that is very personal, real, that is you. It shows you a face that you sometimes catch in the mirror, but you can rarely reproduce in a photo. It is a side of you, that for various reasons does not usually get to be seen on camera. It is also the side of you that you want your grand, grand-grandchildren to hold in their arms, one day and say: “Now, this is Grandma”.

 

 

I like to do that for you. To be your eyes. Show your inner self. No borders, no fears, just YOU. 

Show your inner self

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