A portrait of Belinda.


Someone recently suggested that I only want to shoot "beautiful" people. This is true. But one's definition of beauty can be so wide and encompassing as to include the majority of people one meets in life. Sometimes we are "blinded by love." But most of the time I like to think people don't work hard enough at finding the combination of things that make a person "beautiful."

Eyes. Poise. Strength. Wisdom. Calmness. Being comfortable in one's own skin. These things are the nature of beauty. Harder maybe to capture in photography than traditional measures of beauty, but more permanent and engaging. 

People have said that a portrait can only capture what is on the surface. I think a subject's presentation and energy can provide much more.

We just need to shoot with more appreciation for the beauty that exists at a remove from popular culture's glossy surface.


amolitor said...

I feel like your concept of portraiture might be described as finding the beauty in everyone. For some people it's the way their cheekbones lie in their face, but not for most of us. For lots of us any beauty the photographer is going to find is going to have to be something inside us, that the photographer can somehow dredge to the surface.

Dave Jenkins said...

So, you offer this portrait of Belinda as defense against the charge that you only shoot beautiful people? Major fail, Kirk! :o) Showing us one more portrait of a beautiful person hardly proves your point that you don't just photograph beautiful people.

PittsburghDog said...

I have to agree with both of the above posts.
You seem to be able to pull something out of Belinda when you photograph her. There is a depth there that draws you in. Maybe it's her beautiful eyes. or maybe it is just the skill of the photographer, but Dave is correct, she is a beautiful lady.

You mentioned a quote "a portrait can only capture what is on the surface." That cannot possibly be true. This picture, and many others you've posted, prove that. Many of your photos make me take an interest in that person, where I don't know that if photographed by other photographers, or of other models, if they would pique my interest.

John Camp said...

Kirk, you don't have to publish this if you'd rather not.

The portrait of Belinda beneath the theater people shots has reminded me that of all the portrait photos you do (and I like your portraits as much as any photographer's I know of) it's the theater shots I like least. I think it's because of the theatrical expressions on the faces of the actors -- I know they need to exaggerate expression so that those expressions can been seen and interpreted by an audience, but I don't think they work very well for a camera. On camera, those expressions look phony in a way that isn't even actor-like; they just look phony. Or amateur-actorish. (When you see a portrait of Jennifer Lawrence, it doesn't look amateurish, whether it's a fashion shot for a magazine or a movie-promo shot where she's dressed up like Katniss (sp?) in Hunger Games with a bow & arrow.) Belinda, on the other hand, in all the different photos I've seen of her, looks human, which is sort of the bottom line for all really terrific portraits. I could look at those for a long time, trying to figure out what you (and she) are doing, but the theater portraits are sort of...annoying, I guess. The rehearsal photos, on the other hand, are not, because they have a context.

Wolfgang Lonien said...

I think I dig what John is writing here.

This year I started a series of b/w portraits using my E-M10 with the 25mm/1.4 and then the 45mm/1.8 wide open. First colleagues and employees of some sub-contractors, then strangers on the streets (whom I asked).

These are people, like the beautiful shot of Belinda here.

I also shot some models, but they pose - they're not themselves but try to give you that "look". And I'd much rather have the person than the model...

Like John, I think that your actor shots are the weaker ones in your portfolio (sorry for that, but exactly for the same reason John mentions - they're acting, and over-expressing). These "silent" portraits as you once called them are so much more beautiful.

Keep up your good work, and have nice holidays and a great new year 2016.