What is a portrait?

Often the first impression of a portrait is a photograph of a person, however this is not necessarily the case. By addressing 4 different questions about portraiture, we were able to see the further depths into what a portrait can be.

   What do you think a portrait is?

An image that depicts a person, representation of someone, a face, essence of a person, an opportunity to get to know a person, often ‘set up’, doesn’t necessarily have to be a person – can be objects, animals ect.

Where are they found?

Portraits are everywhere – albums, adverts, publications, social media, books, galleries, magazines…

Who commissions them and why?

Companies, brands, families of the person photographed, the photographer (for self portraiture, portfolio, bands, ID and galleries), newspapers.

   What should a portrait include and exclude?

A portrait should include a personality, a person, emotion, expression, feelings, identity (representation), something showing human form. A portrait should exclude distraction from the subject and the photographers judgement.

  • The purpose of the picture influences its usage.
  • Historically, portraits were used as a form of identity or for remembrance. They were generally commissioned to flatter the person being photographed.
  • Portraits do not necessarily have to be formal.

There are a number of influential portrait photographers such as

  • Irving Penn – formal portraits mainly of famous people, he often photographed the people surrounding him.
  • August Sander – using large format cameras to document the german race by ‘types’.
  • Diane Arbus – known for capturing the people on the edge of society, using hard lighting and the opposite to flattery – showing them for who they truly are.
  • Richard Avedon – known for his fashion shots but also for ‘In the American West’, keeping backgrounds plain and calm focusing on the subject.

Following the lecture, we were able to experiment with our own ideas of portraiture.

These 3 images focus mainly on a person, whereas working with this further I would like to photograph the person’s belongings to give the image an ‘essence’ of the person and personality rather than actually photographing them.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on October 13, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Yasmin Taylor Photography

Making your memories last...

Gemma Rose Jarvis

FInal Year Photography

Katherine Michelle

Coventry University Student Blog

Aaron Sehmar University Blog

A topnotch WordPress.com site


Emma Shea: Currently Studying Photography at Coventry University

Lucy Bartlett Photography

Third year Photography student at Coventry University


Spark your imagination. Capture it.

Metal Mondays

With Charlotte, Mo and Quincy, every Monday from 8pm-10pm


Framing The World Through My Photographs

%d bloggers like this: