Portrait Photography Essay

839 Words4 Pages
Portraits through photography has changed throughout history from an indoor studio to the great outdoors. In portrait photography, David Bate considers four major visual conventions that includes the face, pose, clothing, and location to rely ideas about the self that communicates the character, personality, and social standing (Bate 73). Portraits from George Nadar’s Sand and Emmet Gowin’s Ruth and Mae are examples of experimentations through tools and decisions that has lead to represent a social identity and innovation in portrait photography. The portrait, Sand, is George Sand with a focused look, head tilted slightly back looking over to her left shoulder. A strong light exposes her right side of her face, leaving shadows on her other…show more content…
With the natural light from above, their eyes are darkened by the shadows with each showing a different facial expression; one in mid blink, and a slight smile. Bate expresses that the “slightest movement of the eyes or mouth (Bate 75)” helps create that dramatic appeal to the viewer. To the far right hidden in the background is a young boy digging the ground with a tool, not noticing Gowin taking this photo. This moment shows Gowin’s approach of capturing a moment with poses that are natural like in Sand’s, yet not staged. Each of the women’s hairstyles are different that fits each personality, that lady on the left has her hair tied up ready for business, the middle is least presented one with hair curlers in, and the right lady is the most put together with some light curls. A middle class family located in the rural south of Danville, Virginia of the open surrounding nature, wearing dresses that fit the nature scenery of a warm overcast day. However, Bate discusses that protruding bellies as shown by the lady on the left, can add sexual hints, but allows her body to be shown through her modesty of her clothes (Bate, 78). Instead of a doing a portrait frame, Gowin recorded a landscape photo to show all the open area with grass in the fore to mid ground and trees lined up in the back with dark shadows that contrasts with the ladies, which brings the attention back to the
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