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Friday, 15 September 2023


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We have a local photographer who does the street portrait thing. He always asks, what do you love about yourself? Seems to make people think and disarm them a bit. I'm pretty active in the community, so it surprised me that I only recognized maybe three people in the bunch.


Portraits made while walking on W11th Ave. in Eugene, Oregon-

One of my favorite portraits is Jeffrey Sedlick’s photo of Miles Davis. I recently came across an academic paper that goes into detail about its making— amazing detail that doesn’t even get much to the technical elements of the exposure and development, just the pose. Shows how much work is involved. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4565009
(Free download; image at p.72)

Don't forget Judith Joy Ross and her intriguing street portraiture; interesting to hear her say she has "little social skills."


I like taking portraits too but I learned to find people who want their photos taken. First of all I live in California where everybody wants to be a star! But I find events where people like to dress up and act - like a Renaissance Faire or Civil War Reenactment where I took these photos.

Here are more:

I've found similar circumstances at car shows and races, artists studio visitors' days, almost all gatherings. I'm just friendly and ask.

[Fun stuff, for sure, but I really wouldn't call those "portraits." --Mike]

If you are just doing it for practice (honing your portrait skills) why don't you ask friends & and family to pose for you? The best portraits I ever made were of people I like/love. To me all good photos are artifacts of a connection between the photographer and the subject. With strangers, you have no connection to use as a basis. You have to create it during the session.

pôr′trĭt, -trāt″
A likeness of a person, especially one showing the face, that is created by a painter or photographer, for example.
A verbal representation or description, especially of a person.
A dramatic representation of a character.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.


Artistic representation of one or more persons
A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expressions are predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. Wikipedia


Sorta like the definition of "art" ...... very subjective.

Mike, you must mean a "portrait" is something a photographer takes in a studio. I wonder how Kirk Tuck defines portrait - he's done a lot of portrait photography.

Humorous aside. We attended an art gallery opening where several artists we knew were exhibited. One painting was a seated male nude, somewhat abstract. But we recognized the subject - the artist's husband who was standing in the corner sipping some champagne....now that's a cooperative subject.

I remember a photography school from the magazines in the '70s and '80s (I believe it was New York School Of Photography or something close) that monthly took out full page ads to sell correspondents courses that promised to give the students "professional" skill in all types of photography. In the kits that each student received for the lessons was a life-size mannequin head and shoulders "model". This allowed the students to try different lenses, angles, lighting to come up with the formulas that they could the use with real subject, but without the need to frustrate a real person while you do the trial and error part of the learning curve.

I remembered these ads because in my downtown main street is a shop that has a perfectly detailed mannequin that I use frequently when I'm testing out a new lens. I'm too much of an introvert to try to ask a person to let me play around and test new things. I have hundreds of shots of this plastic person and can replicate the shots when I get the opportunity to shoot a real person and it looks like I know what I'm doing.

Making portraits-

You love words. I presume the bulk of your readers would be word lovers too.

When you wrote about "things used to be different", it made me wish for a hybrid world.

One where we had the formality of a language framework (from the past) but one that embraced the informality of communications from the present. Like when you watch an expert at any subject riff on it. Their formal experience gives them the skillset to be playful with grace.

Here's to words! Huzzah!

Millenial here, so I have noticed a lot how the photo philosophy is different nowadays; despite growing up and learning with resources such as TOP which are more "classic".

Just came from a social event, where I recorded a dance show and passed it onto the participants. The photograph and video nowadays is in a way that we have so much that it's consumable. A photograph does not have enough time, nor the subjects the patience.
Not a reason, but I notice specially much more because as a film shooter and darkroom printer, the workflow is much more lengthly time wise.

I rarely do portraits. The Lumix 35-100 2.8 lives in my EM5 that I don't take out so often.Doing more impromptu phone and RX100 work; as well as relatively planned environmental portraits with a Fuji 6x9 (39mm equivalent)

GFX 100II I could hold and see results of last week; Fujikina in Stockholm where they showcased (IMO too gear focused) The fuji X and GFX system. Beautiful really large prints where you "fall of into" with nearby infinite detail. Amazing tool, fantastic 55mm 1.7; but for some reason I was a bit indifferent, too much gear marketing focus in the whole ordeal.

We were doing some corporate photos at my new office and the boss just fixed it with the phone, saying that nobody pays anymore for photography (on a discussion about image assets).

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