Portraits are cultural, they relate to the time and place of their inception. This means they become documents, so we are crossing over already. As documents they are meant to inscribe truth
Apollo stares into the void, his perfect smooth stone is timeless and ageless, Apollo the portrait refers to the myth and not the individual so this opens up the key question of; does portraiture express the inner world of the subject?
Relates to things like phrenology etc and picked up on by the Nazi’s etc... Does relate to the idea of portraits for categorising and social status
Explain term ‘codes and conventions’. (gainsborough and howlett)
Daguerreotype was a one off on a plate unlike Fox Talbot’s wet emulsion process, it was delicate and needed protecting which added to its mystiqueNeck braces were being used still and painterly conventions followed yet the start of the democratic spread of art could be said to have begunSo popular even took images of the dead
We are back to our early quote.Q. What are we seeing in these images that is different from previous slides? What is going on with photographic technology that helps this? (negatives, moveable camera...)
Nadars work hovers between portraiture as identification and revealing the true personality – this is a point we keep coming back to!
Self portrait with paintbrush and PhillipeHalsman referring to his ‘jump’ images
Use of external space in this Francis Bacon image becomes symbolic of the painters status and state of mindHarold Pinter is surrounded by books and newspapers and his gaze is considered ironic as normally he provides material for the audience to gaze onto
We can see this central dichotomy of portraiture still very much in place
Other reference points such as the text ‘blind’ – this gives us the terms by which we see the picture and creates an emotional standing
a hierarchy of meaning is shown via the social distinctions made
Makes direct reference to himself and his sexuality and how its depicted by other images
Cindy questions the idea of how women are viewed within a media saturated context which essentially is a critique
Strips down celebs, basic flat lighting, reveals true id?
We are almost back to square one really. Is portraiture for the purposes of identification and categorising or is it to show the true inner nature of the subject
Portraiture What is it?
• “The portrait is a sign whose purpose is both the description of an individual and the inscription of social identity” John Tagg 1988• What does this mean?
Apollo is an ideal type who represents perfection Does this image refer to an ideal or an individual? Portraiture has two opposing yet Interlinked sides: Showing the subjects true identity andRobert Mapplethorpe Apollo relating that identity to the world
Silhouette and physionotrance started to become popular and started to anchor thecodes and conventions of portraiture from art
Portraiture Photography was also used as a form of official identification
Early 19th C portraiture was equated to paintings andtheir codes and conventions. Paintings of individuals (and photos) showed wealth and status
• The Daguerreotype became popular and affordable (still middle class)• Studios sprang up• Up to 40 seconds exposure still – helps to confirm C&C
Other photographers begin to break painterly tradition and use photography to show different social types and personalities. People begin to remain in their social contexts Is this ‘environmental portraiture’ now starting to become documentary? Hill and Adamson
Late 19th c; Nadar works formally still butestablishes truer form of subject identification This returns us to portraitures central dilemma – ID or Personality
Edward Steichen’s portraits and self portraits ironically address this central question
Man Ray: Surrealist – questions of self and identity
• The paradox of portraiture is the true re- presentation of the subject via the lens versus how the images fits into social conventions and uses codes of photography and art to tell a story• i.e. Can an image of me, every really show the true me?!
Paul Strand• Blind Woman 1916• Documentary or portraiture?• Defines a personal history within the context of other reference points
August Sander• The individual referred to in a social context• Subjects as social beings• Defined by profession (environmental)• True identity though?
Robert Mapplethorpe• Address’s problem of identity• Explores portraiture in relation to its assumed audience• Rejects C&C
Cindy Sherman• Explores identity in terms of how modern identity is made via media images• The Self is a point of ID
Dianne Arbus• Individuals in a private context• Questions what is the norm
We see continued reference from photographers as they attempt to make sense of the ambiguous condition of identity
Task• Using your class notes and one of the images provided you must write a brief analysis. Your analysis must discuss some of the key issues mentioned and not simply a textual analysis of the picture.• Use the books/handout provided to try and find a reference or source• You can work in small groups to begin with but must write separately.