5.06.2010

Dark and Beautiful.


There's something about portraiture that makes it the only important part of photography for me.  I can photograph buildings and interiors and microchips if the pay is good.  I can shoot landscapes if there are interesting people in them.  (Who am I kidding?  Confronted with a nice, peopled landscape my first impulse is always to find a longer lens and to crop out all the useless background).  But the portrait is without a doubt the highest expression of photography and, indeed, of all the two dimensional arts.

I'm not sure why but I think it's the same reason why we are so intrigued by beauty.  We want to freeze it and understand it.  We are captured by our imaginations and by the vagaries of human mythos.  Our collective cultures are littered with stories of handsome princes, beautiful damsals, sirens, goddesses and fairies.  Anthropologist tell us that we are drawn to certain types for biological reasons.

I think it's more like a dance.  The better the partner the more thrilling the dance.  The greater the collaboration the more thrilling the portrait.  In the end we're all trying to understand beauty and our relation to it.  It's all proximate.  It's all ephemeral.  And it's the ephemeral and fleeting nature that makes capturing it on an individual basis so bitter sweet......

4 comments:

Ezequiel Mesquita said...

Wonderful toughts and images Kirk, thanks for sharing. I'm with you and Ken...still think that photography IS about beauty and history. BTW, your questioning about when our focus shifted from subject to equipment, answered my gear choice question from yesterday. And speaking of the preeminence of portraiture over other photographic fields; they say the eyes are the mirror of the soul, so..as beautifully exemplified by the diverse pictures you show us today, no other photography field goes so far in our seek for beauty and the immensity. Totally agree about the ephemeral and its bittersweet taste. We hope that capturing those fleeting moments we can do something to fix the ephemeral. Utopic, but no less beautiful and worthy...

Devesh said...

I too have been intrigued by the magic of the portrait, and agree with your previous post that's it's about the connection.

To that I would add *presence.* That is what I look for: the subject actually being there, myself actually being there, and the tangible feeling of that aliveness between us. When that is happening it's undeniable and it shows in the result.

I have, in fact, made this one of the main focuses of my work and certainly it is the most satisfying...

Gingerbaker said...

Ahem.

Please note:

There is now at least one officially-registered doubt that portraiture is the "highest expression of photography and, indeed, of all the two dimensional arts".

Thank you,

The Management

;D

kirk tuck said...

Gingerbaker, would you care to expound?