UNIVERSALITY BEHIND PORTRAITS
Portraits have been around since plenty of thousands of years ago. Portrait photography is a small branch in the vast world of Portraits, and they depict in the majority of cases, realistic representations of people with a prearranged pose. Mere snapshots often are left out from the scope of Portrait Photography, but for other people they could apply as well.
Portrait Photography offer a wide broad of options and are used for several purposes, from domestic to propagandistic, and from artistic to commercial as well.
Great milestones of Age
It is important in anthropological terms to proof that certain moments in the life of all individuals, are worthy of investing, self-doing, or even asking for a portrait. In many cultures, when teenagers reach a certain age, they left home in order to continue their academic formation far away from home. In my own and personal opinion, this moment in life is really worthy of having a portrait done. Humanity is not so wrong either, because it is common to have a portrait session when this moment arrives.
Apart from this isolated moment, there are several moments in life that people consider to be important, so important, that they link a portrait to that happening. Recording age happens almost by gravity, and these portraits work as important milestones of age for the people. It is like having a brief summary of a lifetime in front of your eyes. Nicholas Nixon knows that portraits are great milestones of age recording, and thanks to this he has achieved one of the most iconic works of age recording in present modern times. He has been taking a yearly portrait of his wife and step sisters since 1975, and has enabled our eyes to see 41 years of intimate history, in a brief yet dense set of 41 portraits. The portraits of the Brown Sisters have tone consistency, and even the same arrangement of the four sisters as well. It all started as a domestic thing, and is nowadays recognised as an important work of both portrait, and documentary photography.
Portraits can depict power, and innocence. The purpose behind a posed portrait can be diverse, and the trendiest corporate portraits try to show an accessible and human side of enterprises and firms. Intimate portraits can be valuable treasures for an individual, and I think the lack of privacy of social media, could be impacting negatively in this fact. I remember the first time I saw the book titled A photographer’s life: 1990-2005 from the Great Photographer Annie Leibovitz, and her intimate images of Susan Sontag, deeply made me think a lot about the importance of having a portion of images that are for nobody but for ourselves and our loved ones.