Portraits are, in and of themselves, a unique art form. Prior to the mid-1800's, when the photographic portrait became practical, they had to be painted. Multiple, long sessions were required, with the subject sitting still, to capture their likeness. Although photography made the process easier and shorter, quality portraiture is still not easy to achieve.
I have done some portrait sessions and don't feel that they resulted in my best work. As part of my art photography, I will do some portraiture of the models I hire. Recently, a couple of these really excited me.
In March, Erica Jay was the model for a portrait lighting session I did for some of the members of the St. Veronica's Guild, a photography group that meets at Metuchen's St. Luke's Church. Prior to that we did a private session that resulted in a portrait I submitted to a group project on Facebook. At the Metuchen Junebug ArtFest last night, a woman walked by and told me she was able to feel the emotion Erica put forth. I was a bit surprised and pleased that this image could bring out that kind of feeling.
This next one, of Inna, was made near the end of another private session. She had been traveling and worked with me before heading home. The clothing had been worn as part of my Black Dress series. I had her pose on this sofa and, as I usually do, used my one Westcott Ice Light, to illuminate her. When I processed this I was immediately drawn in, again to the feeling of the moment.
One final note, there is much software advertised that will "improve" portraits. I'm not a fan of retouching, and certainly not skin smoothing. I'm not saying these don't have a place, but I limit my retouching to temporary elements like scratches and other temporary blemishes. Anything permanent, stays!
I'll be back on the sidewalk for Junebug again on June 26 and will be wandering around photographing the events of the evenings on June 1 and 19.