The Timeless Beauty Of Faces
Monte Zucker• Posted Apr 1, 2000
What could be
more different now than photographing faces? Faces express feelings. Isn't
that what love, romance, and marriage are all about? So, why haven't
we been photographing them? Let me tell you what I think.
Photographers, who could not see the beauty and individuality in faces alone, went looking for something that they could see. What did they come up with? Scenery.
In addition, many of today's photographers were never schooled in portraiture. So, what do they do? Shoot outside, where they think they won't have to worry about posing and lighting. The backgrounds will make up for their lack of knowledge about photographing people. They were wrong.
Sure, it's everywhere, but that isn't a portrait, that's a snapshot. It makes for pictures of places--not people. Photographers have gotten into the habit of taking pictures of pretty scenes then fitting their subjects somewhere in the frame and most of the time they get lost in the shuffle.
Not my style at all. I was brought up in the tradition of looking at faces, analyzing and lighting them properly, then positioning the bodies correctly to support the views of the faces that I chose to photograph. Nothing new. It's been done by true artists throughout history. Thankfully, it hasn't vanished completely.
So, when the subject of portraiture was chosen as one of the topics of this month's Shutterbug, I decided to look through some of my latest images to show what I've been doing. Then, I got the idea to go through some of my older images in order to demonstrate how good portraiture can be truly timeless. They are all assembled here for you to glance over.
Can you pick out the older from the newer ones? Okay, maybe, the clothing, hair styles, and makeup date some of the photographs. But I don't think those things change the beauty, passion, and excitement.
Within the collages of portraits I have assembled for your viewing, take a quick glance at them and tell me what you see. Is it beautiful backgrounds or pretty scenes? Or, is it faces? Faces and feelings.
Conclusions? Maybe we just need to become true portraitists. Maybe, we need to study and learn techniques again. Then, go for it, as I've been doing for so many years.
Want to do your own thing and do it professionally? What does that mean to you? To me, it means being consistent. It means concentrating on our subjects, the people who we're photographing, and avoiding distractions. Keeping our images simple, direct, and hitting the viewer right between the eyes. Impacting them with portraits that hit home to everyone--not just the people depicted in the photographs.
What's your opinion?
Maybe, we don't have to look for pretty scenes anymore. Just maybe, we might consider the beauty of the human form, the human face...faces that say more than their environment.
Food for thought?