Portraits are what photography is all about.....for me.
I don't know why they do it but they do it all the time. People talk to me about photography and they are so desperate to show me what they've recently shot that they whip out their iPhones and start flicking through images. And sadly, many times the images are not portraits. They show me tiny landscapes which makes my internal critic yawn and wince. They show me "abstracts" which means they liked the color or shape of something and snapped a photo. They show me architecture which I sometimes like, sometimes tolerate but mostly ignore. And they show me pictures of cats to prove how sharp their new lens/camera/flash is.
I have a new dodge to get out of looking at the images as they are flicked past on the screen. I apologize and point out that I didn't bring my reading glasses and so am incapable of truly appreciating the "art." At this point they start using two fingers to enlarge the photographs. Perhaps they mean to scroll across and depend on my "persistence of vision" to tile together their masterpieces in my mind. At that point I generally just tell people to stop.
The one exception is when someone shows me a really nice portrait. Then, mystically, my vision improves and I can share in the sharing. Now I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with pursuing landscape photographs. Ansel Adams had a good run with the genre and I suppose some other people have too. And Lee Freidlander certainly made some hay with his abstracts, as did Gordon Parks. It's just that people are so much more interesting to photograph and look at. In a way it's because portraits can be virtually interactive......at least they will look back at you.
(Above shot on medium format black and white film, Hasselblad Camera. 180mm Zeiss lens.)