Portraiture Research

This blog will be introducing another assignment that I had started running alongside my 2nd Assignment on Unit 34 Image Manipulation. Unit 9 – Professional Practice in Art and Design was given closer to the end of the 2nd Assignment. Unit 9 is all about assessing a students capability and independence ,when working in the studio and to produce an image that fits the brief. For this brief, we had to produce a portrait based on a model we choose and document our work to prove how professional and competent we have become.

As we need to produce research to gain inspiration for our own work, I have produced a post about the different styles of portraiture in photography.

Portraiture or Portrait Photography is photography of one person or a group of people that displays their expression, personality or mood of the subject. Portraiture focuses on the face of the subject for the image although the portrait can be full length and can consist of a background. (If the context of the image needs it)

Portraiture Research

Traditional/Classic Portrait:

Traditional or Classical portraiture generally refers to images where the face is the main focus of the image or component. The purpose of a traditional portrait is to depict a visual representation of that person.

The subject is generally expected to be looking directly at the camera. Traditional portraits can be framed with what is known as “head-shot”, “two thirds” or “full body” frame.

Environmental Portrait:

Environmental Portraits are portraits of a subject in the person’s natural environment. For example a builder photographed at a building site, or a teacher in the classroom. The surroundings are used to compliment a subject and emphasize their character. Mostly the photographer chooses the subject and setting.

Candid Portrait:

Candid Portraits are taken without the subjects knowing of the photographer taking images. Candid Portraits are used within Photojournalism, travel photography, street photography and event photography. As opposed to an environmental portrait this image is captured at the moment rather than set up. However a Candid Portrait can be seen as controversial as there is no consent of the subject and it can make people uncomfortable at events.

Glamour Portrait:

Glamour Portraits is a sub genre of Glamour photography in which the subjects (mostly female but can be male) are portrayed in erotic or exciting ways. Glamour portraits tend to focus on the face rather than the body.

Fashion Portrait:

Fashion Portraits is a sub genre of Fashion Photography in which subjects are showcasing the clothing the model is wearing. As with glamour portraits, fashion portraits tend to focus on the face or upper body. This means they could be showcasing shirts or jewellery.

Surreal Portrait:

Surreal Portraits are similar to conceptual portraits, however surreal portraits tend to emphasize the “other reality”. Surrealism is art movement that started in the 1920’s and is an evolution of some sorts of the DADA art movement. Surrealism works tend to feature the element of surprise and unexpected juxtapositions. Surreal Portraits tend to have heavy photo manipulation applied to them; this could be digitally or through film processes.

Conceptual Portrait:

Conceptual Portraits are often referred to as images that add a fourth dimension or a hidden meaning. Most of the time the meaning of the concept is open for interpretation and usually leaves the viewer guessing and questioning his or her own interpretation.

Conceptual artists can get offended when asked, what their photograph meant; it is the job of the view to decide. Conceptual Portraits can be used within advertising but the concepts are much easier to understand.

Abstract Portrait:

Abstract Portraits can be created with intention of creating art and not producing a realistic representation of a person. (Collages (or Photomontage) or image manipulation is used)

These posts will be going up alongside the rest of my work for the 2nd Assignment of Unit 34.


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