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Thread: What is a good portrait?

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max 2.8
    Love to see what you have capture the last half of the century!
    hey! my body is half century!

    but my photography barely out of infancy!

  2. #22
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    hehe, u are being too modest le.
    i am looking forward to seeing some of ur pics too,
    joined CS recently only.

  3. #23
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    if we look at the portrait and can draw some characters, attributes and personality of the person, aren't we judging a person by his look?

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    Just for discussion. The wonderful image of this boy.

    Did the photographer "capture" the innocence of this boy? Really? Can one "capture" innocence in a piece of paper? Is this boy really innocent? He may be, but I do not know. I have friends who have children of this age who are real "rascals", but with angelic faces.

    So what I would prefer to say is that this image portrays a look of innocence in a boy. Whether this be his "real" personality or not I do not know. And I do not care. But it is a "good portrait" because it effectively tells a story of innocence.
    sorry to ask, so a photograph can actually distort a fact depending on how the photographer do it right? a rascal can be made into an innocence looking boy for example

    just thinking aloud, no harm intented.

    this remind me of the penpal. whereby receiving a photo of a nice gal but when meeting the real person, she is a totally different person!

  5. #25

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    In am in-between developing 24 sheets of 4x5 negatives. Let me try to see if my view make sense.

    Let me preface my reply (to Paul) by telling a story. A man brought his wife to Picasso for a portrait (apparently a true story, I may distort the story a little, but the essence is there). Picasso proceeded to paint the woman. After a while, the man was clearly agitated. Sensing this, Picasso asked the man what was the matter? The man replied, "that does not look like my wife". Picasso asked, "how does you wife look like?" Upon which the man produced a photograph from his wallet and showed Picasso. "There! That is how my wife looks like!" Thoughtfully, Picasso replied. "Small, isn't it?"

    The point is, we are looking at an image at a point of time. Imagine how the image was made. Look at the variables - Time. Light. Distance. Lens. Film (sensors) Colors (or non-colors) Photographers. Can it be possible that two photographers standing next to each other photographing a model at the same time can produce the same image?

    The editor of the acclaimed photo magazine "Lenswork" mentioned "THERE IS NO TRUTH IN PHOTOGRAPHY".

    A lot of people had criticised Ansel Adams because when they stood where Ansel Adams stood they could not see the same image that Ansel Adams produced. Photographers had placed their tripods at the same spots as Ansel Adams and yet not produced the same photograph. Why? It is because they are not Ansel Adams. They could not visualise the scene before them the way Ansel did. Hence they could not tell the story Ansel Adams want to tell. Any surprise that the images are different?

    When you look at the image of a person, are you looking at the person, or looking a a piece of paper? The image on the paper is not the person. But a two dimensional image made with all the variables thrown in. You can see an image of a woman and say "sexy". I could see "Strength". If our skills are up to it (again another variable) you make an image that shows "sex" and I make an image that shows "strength" . Whose is right?

    Agency VII, headed by Antonin Kravtochil (right spelling?- never could get it right! Damn!) was assigned to photograph the invasion of Iraq. He had another colleague, a guy called Christopher. The images made by these two very excellent photographers were as different aas east is from the west. Christopher showed the triumphant march of the American forces and the jubilant welcome of the "lbierated" Iraqis. Antonin show the American forces killing the Iraqis and the fear and bewilderment of the Iraqis. Truth? Which one? In truth, each was making the stories they are trying to tell.

    When you look at an image, you are looking at an image. True, the image conveys a certain emotional response. And sometimes powerfully. Example of Karsh's Winston Churchill. When the Germans saw the glowering image of Churchill, it was reported that they remarked "if this was what the Allied leaders are, can we win this war?" Have you seen images of Marilyn Monroe? Sexy. Men's dream. But have you seen the image of Marilyn Monroe in Avedon's book "portraits". Which is the REAL Marilyn? A few months ago, in our very own Straits Times, Cindy Crawford was quoted as saying "Those pictures you see of me - they are not me!"

    So an image is an image. It is not truth. It is only the story that the photographer wants to tell. And the more accomplished the photographer is, the better he can tell the story.

    And I think this is the gist of all great art. Whether Picasso, Rembrandt, Matisse, Zhang Ta Chien, Zhu Pei Hung. They are masters at telling stories, using the medium they chose to tell the story.

  6. #26
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    wow... this really sets me

  7. #27

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    Truth and photography can be miles apart. Many people think the two are the same. Probably they only perceive photography as simply holding the camera, looking thru the viewfinder, abiding by proper techniques, and then the shutter click.

    What they fail to see is that even a point & shoot tells a story. It says something about the image (which may depart from reality) and it also tells a story about the photographyer himself.

  8. #28

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    wat is a portrait..

    to me..... a portrait is a story about two people...the model and the photographer....
    its juz the weightage.....

    cheers..
    THE WITNESS...

  9. #29

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    Ahh...this leaves me in no doubt as to who actually is the 'Master' and who is the 'Student'!

    I don't know if Student has actually already said it, and I may say it in a slightly different manner ... but to me, a portrait is

    ... a take...a moment ... an instant of a million facedes of a person, or subject.

    We can portray just about any subject, and if anyone remembers the article in Psychology Today, an experiment about 'intepretation' was an experiment where six of the world's greatest living painters including Dali (can;t remember the rest) were asked to reproduce a street scene from a photograph. All six painters were the most revered and respected; their skills and depth and visions beyond question.

    When the results were viewed, ALL SIX WERE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT! Not just slightly different, ENTIRELY different!

    For the sake of simplicity, let's talk about portraiture with respect to 'people'.

    Without going into a long discourse about psyche and relationships, I think a truly good portrait is one of many things, but most tacitly, an inward identification and understanding that a painter or photographer has of his or her subject, and his promulgation of that intepretation coupled with whatever mental, psychological, political, artistic and emotive forces that are affecting the artist/photographer at a certain point of life. Of course, outside forces also come into play, as these would obviously affect the photographer.

    In another words, what a photographer sees and understands of his subjects through his own life and experiences, and how that shapes the way he sees and projects the subject.

    Sometimes, it's amazing what an artists' / photographer's work reveals about the person. It's a lot more than telling a storey, IMHO. No offence Student.

    SHOOTS! This already sounds like psycho-gobbledeegook! Sorry.
    Last edited by Feinwerkbau; 27th April 2005 at 12:46 AM.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    hey! my body is half century!

    but my photography barely out of infancy!
    My bod's not far behind C and my photography has not been conceived yet!

  11. #31

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    When I see a portait that makes me really look, to think about what the person in the picture might be feeling the moment the image was captured and in a strange way begin to feel for him/her (i.e. to care), to believe (even if I'm wrong) that I can understand why they look the way they look, then I tell myself 'This is a good portrait' and feel very happy.

    A good portrait to me is a picture of a person that triggers an emotional response when I see it. Make any sense to anybody?

  12. #32
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    I just did some portraits. Put it at the Portraits forumDun be too cruel hor

    Can comment & discuss here.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max 2.8
    I just did some portraits. Put it at the Portraits forumDun be too cruel hor

    Can comment & discuss here.
    man u learn fast.
    in telling story after u did the shooting.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    Like many sheep, I used to think that a good portrait is one that "Captures the essence of a person, that tells me everything about a person's personality".

    I am by no means old and wise. But I have passed the half century mark. I have worked for more than a quarter century in a profession that often deals with the deep recesses of a person psyche. Not as much as a psychologist or psychiatrist, but close. And maybe more sometimes.

    And my conclusion? I feel totally inadequate and a failure. I wish that I can say that I "know" a person, having spent hours and days with that person. But I don't. Heck! I don't even know for sure who I am! I have certain behaviour patterns. My friends and associates think that I am sanguine! I am often the one who gives and encourages laughter. Am I sanguine? Deep inside me, I am a melancholic. A schizophrenic? May be!

    If I don't know myself or the person whom I spent hours and days trying to understand the "person", how can it be possible that I can "capture" the "total personality and essence" of a person?

    I don't know where this comes from. But I believe it to be a great myth, started by someone to give himself a sense of "power" that he could "capture" (How horrible a word - load, aim, shoot, capture - words like using a weapon!) the "person". And this myth perpetuated by the hordes of unthinking sheep, or whom I am one.

    But increasing, I think photography is telling a story. Hence, the often asked question at print critiques "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?" - about the landscape, the bee, the flower, the hawker, the sunset, and the person. Which brings me back to "what is a good portrait?"

    I think portrait making is "Telling a story about the person". Making a biography about the person, and in the process, revealing a little about yourself. Now that gies me a tremendous sense of relie! I am free! When I make a portrait of a person whom I meet 10 minutes ago, do I know that person? When I join a photo-shoot and meet the model the first time with 7 other photographers, is it possible that within the next hours, I can get to know the model? You can? Really? I can't? But does it deter me from making a portrait of the person?

    NO! Because I am making a story of the person as seen through my eyes and hopefully as I mature in photo-making, through my heart,or my "third eye". I am free! I don't have to know the person. I don't have to capture his essence. I don't have to capture his personality. I just make a story and biography of the person. My story.

    How about the landscape? The sunset? Do I capture the sunset? No. I make a story about the sunset. What did I feel about that sunset? Beautiful? Nice colors? or more? How deep am I? Perhaps if I am deeper, the sunset reminds me of the cosmos. The clouds the whirl of the milky way, a microcosm of the universe. The sunset becomes a template for me to make a story.

    This is how I see portraits. The person is only a template. A template for me to make a story. If the template is "good", I have more to work on. If I have something within me, something deeper, I can make more of the template. A dance. Working together. The camera, with its own reality, my instrument to make that story.

    My portrait. Is it a good portrait? I do not know. But it is my story of that person.
    Thanks, Student. You know? Your PM made me think a lot on shooting portraits. Will definitely keep your words in mind when I have the chance to do so. Thanks a lot for encouraging me that time.
    Speaking of ART is USELESS if one cannot FEEL anything.
    My Photo Albums

  15. #35

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    Always love to read "student" posts.

  16. #36
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    to what i notice. Portraits in CS is mainly "nose bleed man.." "chio" "pretty"

    when negative criticism comes in, some are always ready to defend their pictures.

    I've given up looking at pretty babes in the portraits section. Many photog in here under the pretence of portraiture photography are actually "following their instincts as a man attracted to beautiful women" and later on a thread:"have you fallen for your model" will pop up in kopitiam or somewhere. What I'm trying to say is that with the induction of more and more new members, the Portraits section is becomnig more and more chioeves or sggirls alike. I'm starting to wonder is it becoming a dating forum as well..

    These are just my personal opinions/impression I have of the CS portraits forum.
    “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

  17. #37

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    But find it hard to tell people that my master is a student leh.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by jopel
    But find it hard to tell people that my master is a student leh.
    Tell tem that my master's nick is student. thats it! and u r just a pupil to student.

  19. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max 2.8
    I just did some portraits. Put it at the Portraits forumDun be too cruel hor

    Can comment & discuss here.
    My apologies! A little busy today! Just came back from a meeting. Will look through those images later.

    Meanwhile, here is a link to some images on people which I really like. I think these are images that most of us can aspire to.

    www.stefan-rohner.com.

    His other images are also very good.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    My apologies! A little busy today! Just came back from a meeting. Will look through those images later.

    Meanwhile, here is a link to some images on people which I really like. I think these are images that most of us can aspire to.

    www.stefan-rohner.com.

    His other images are also very good.

    Wa....damn nice man! This link page also got some nice picture from other photographer

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