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How Portraits Lie — Making your photography more truthful

3/30/2020 ISO 1200 Magazine 1 Comments

What is the purpose of a portrait?

Aristotle put forth the notion that we judge how ‘good’ something is based on how well it fulfils its intended purpose. So what does a good portrait do that a bad one fails to? What should a photographer aspire to achieve when they make a portrait of someone?

One of the most common pieces of praise we hear about portraits is when people say things like “You’ve really captured that person’s soul.” or “That photo really embodies who that person is”.  Jamie Windsor thinks this is often the general perception of what a great portrait does.

This is nonsense. One single image can't communicate the complexities, nuances, contradictions, thoughts and feelings of a human being. Jamie thinks at best this is a misunderstanding of what photography can do, and at worst, a deliberate manipulation of how an audience perceives a person or people.

To explain the latter a little more, we need to look at Dorothea Lange’s iconic image of the Migrant Mother.

You may also like: 8 IMPORTANT Composition Tips for Better Photos

About Jamie Windsor:

My channel is all about photography related tips, reviews and techniques. I aim to create video content that doesn't already exist on YouTube. I also try to focus on teaching the art of photography rather than being an overly gear-heavy channel.  You can support me on Patreon if you like what I'm doing and want to see more of it.  Let's Get Connected: | Presets  | Instagram | PATREON

Text, image and video via Jamie Windsor 

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