Portraiture can be an fascinating medium for a photographer, releasing him/her from the oft-standard themes of architecture and landscape photography. This genre requires face-to-face interaction — first, a photographer must establish rapport. Next, s/he must attempt to craft images which capture the essence not only of the subjects, but also of their surroundings.
The following portraits were captured in Philadelphia using a Nikon D3100. Sometimes the individuals featured were people I knew; more often they were not. A huge “thanks’ to each of these folks, who so graciously allowed me to test the boundaries of my own capacity as a photographer.
Young scholars on the rear staircase of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
My niece, Kyra, at the Philadelphia Zoo
A muralist hard at work in South Philly
Two gentlemen in Center City
Two gentlemen in Germantown
Romey in Germantown
Chris and Cori at a cocktail party in South Philly
Portraiture & Art History
Portraiture as an artistic genre dates back to prehistoric times. Today, a large percentage of the portraits which we see hanging in museums were commissioned for one of two reasons: (1) to depict wealthy arts patrons and their families, or (2) to glorify God through the representation of various Biblical scenes. Portraits have also been created — at times — as a way for the artists to express their own interests or simply experiment with their craft. Painters such as Velázquez, in addition to his numerous commissions by members of European royal families, also painted subjects from the margins of society, such as dwarves. Toulouse-Lautrec is famous for his depictions of dancers and bar patrons. Picasso is well-known for having captured the likeness of a beggar in his early painting, The Old Guitarist.
Portraits capture what it is to be human throughout all walks of life. So why not grab your camera and try creating a few portraits yourself? Happy shooting!