In Yousuf Karsh's 93 years, he had amassed more than 15,000 sittings to his name, capturing portraits of famous and worldly people. He rose to international prominence due to his portrait of Winston Churchill in 1941. At first, it was an honor for the amateur Karsh to walk up to or invite people to photograph them. After that, it became a privilege for future subjects to be accepted into Karsh's gallery. Karsh's website is a source for great insight into the photographer's life, in his own words and through his works. You can read more in this 1988 interview Karsh gave to the Paris Voice, see a few more portraits from the Smithsonian Magazine, and view an interview in three parts. [more inside]
Álvaro Franca's Typewritten Portraits is a time-lapse video showing the artist using the typewriter to progressively, manually build portraits of favorite authors. Other works also deal with the idea of repetition in type, including calligraphy, a multilingual silkscreen and patterns of icons.
'Madeline L’Engle said, “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” I know that when I’m meeting older people, anyone for that matter, you look in the person’s eyes and their eyes are behind the façade. You feel more connected with somebody’s soul in that sense. So instead of judging a book by its cover, looking at this old person like maybe they’re not capable of this or that, I wanted to show how full and beautiful they are. They’ve already lived what I’m living. They have so much knowledge, and they’re still living.' Jason Bard Yarmosky on the portraits of his grandparents: Elder Kinder (2011), Elder Kinder (2012), Dream of the Soft Look (2013) [via Everlasting Blort] [more inside]
There has long been various lines of speculation about Mona Lisa, including the existence of an earlier version of the painting. A painting purported to be the earlier version was revealed in 2012. The accuracy of the statements are supported by The Mona Lisa Foundation, who have set up an extensive website around the history of the Mona Lisa and other versions, and also prepared a 21 minute documentary with various professionals providing their knowledge on the topic. [more inside]
Before They Pass Away: Powerful Portraits of Secluded Cultures on the Brink of Extinction. Q&A with Jimmy Nelson.
In the aftermath of one of the strangest political scandals ever to plague the mayor of a major North American city, Rob Ford oversees the unveiling of a high-profile portrait of himself by a sitting councilor, made at the request of Ford's mother. The artist describes the piece as complex, but a lot remains unsaid regarding the weight Ford's personality carries into the realm of portrait.
Artist Sergio Albiac is creating generative portraits from selfies. You can be part of his new exhibition by submitting a photo via Google Drive. "In a nutshell, this experiment, with the participation of an Internet audience, will produce as many artworks as possible.... An automated process will create human portraits as generative collages, using as sources some images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Generated portraits will be exhibited at the flickr Stardust Portrait exhibition."
"Fabiola has been a beloved subject for countless painters, most of them amateurs. The portrait’s format is almost always the same: Fabiola is seen in profile facing left, her head covered by a rich red veil. Mr. Alÿs, who was born in Belgium in 1959 and moved to Mexico City in 1990, began collecting Fabiola paintings — as the genre is called — about 15 years ago, buying them at thrift shops, flea markets and antiques stores primarily in Mexico and Europe. He has previously shown his collection three times, when it was much smaller; the current presentation includes more than 300 works. Photos of the exhibition
Levi van Veluw* has taken his self-portraiture to the next level by bringing his family into the picture. "Portrayed in this piece is a room with 5 persons sitting at a table.... The endless repetition of wooden blocks stands for van Veluw’s attempts to gain control of his own position within the familial structure."
Throughout the world, El Mac's grand spraypaint portraits combine with RETNA's cryptic, hieroglyphic language to create stunning murals.
Amin's hunger for publicity was so great, in fact, that in 1974 he became the first dictator in history to agree to be the subject of an independent documentary film. The resulting movie, Barbet Schroeder's General Idi Amin Dada... is a devastating look at despotism in action and a riveting, and strangely entertaining, portrait of Amin. [more inside]
The original time-lapse self portrait? And some modern artists: Enchanting self portraits from Iceland's Rebekka Gaudleifs. Nude self portrait (NSFW) from Israeli artist Roni River. Disturbing stories from Canada's projecteye (NSFW) and magical self-portrait from New Hampshire-based Sarah Ann Loreth.
In addition to being a five term US senator, Barry Goldwater was an accomplished photographer, particularly of people and landscapes of the American West. [more inside]
Face your pockets. I have no idea how these people got their heads wedged into their scanners, or why.
"They are the earliest painted portraits that have survived; they were painted whilst the Gospels of the New Testament were being written. Why then do they strike us today as being so immediate? Why does their individuality feel like our own? Why is their look more contemporary than any look to be found in the rest of the two millennia of traditional European art which followed them? The Fayum portraits touch us as if they had been painted last month." The Fayum mummy portraits were painted between the first and third centuries AD, in Roman Egypt, and preserved by the dry Egyptian climate. Wikimedia Commons. According to Wikipedia, 900 portraits are known to have survived. John Bavaro has been creating modern versions using the Brushes app on the iPhone. Via the Brushes Gallery on Flickr.
50 Aldermen/50 Artists. Chicago gallery Johalla Projects enlisted local artists to meet with the members of the city council and create a portrait of the person they found. "The goal is just to get people involved," says co-curator Jeremy Scheuch. "I think a lot of aldermen were (initially) afraid of what this might be about." More photos here.
Many people who paint portraits try to make the painting look like a living person. Alexa Meade tries to make the person look like a painting. [more inside]
"I found him, this little dog in a dumpster down in the projects in the South Side while I was pickin’ up cans. The reason I picked it up is because whenever I see a little child I give it to him." [more inside]
Clayton Cubitt is a video artist. He does video portraits. They are disturbing, warholian, and weird
"When my friend Richard Renaldi showed me the first images from the new series Touching Strangers I was just amazed. Asking two complete strangers to not only pose with each other, but to also touch each other while doing that... And this in a culture whose discomfort with touching someone you don't know, or touching something that someone else might have touched still baffles me, even after having spent almost ten years in it!" - A Conversation with Richard Renaldi about 'Touching Strangers' [more inside]
Elizabeth Heyert struggles to remove the photographer from portraiture, moving contra Richard Avedon. Three series: Sleepers (interview), Travelers (interview), Narcissists [NSFWish] (essay).
In the 17th century Dutch painters began to create informal paintings that focused on the features and/or expressions of anonymous people. These were called tronies. Although a tronie showed a person’s face, it wasn’t considered a portrait. [...] In 1995 Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens began a series of tronies featuring his daughter Paula. some images NSFW
A Dramatic New Portrait of Leo Sayer "Leo Sayer is ebullient, passionate, and immensely talented. He is the ultimate people person, enthusiastically embracing life. A neighbour of his who is familiar with both my work and Leo's told me that Leo would be the perfect subject for a portrait. So I wrote and asked, it was as simple as that." Sadly, Tony Johansen's portrait of Leo Sayer didn't win this year's Archibald Prize. Then again, neither did this.
The Adaption to my Generation - daily portraits of Jonathan Keller...from 1998 to the present (as he states, "The project will continue until the day I die. Only then will it be complete, and worth its true value."). Also of note...his links page, which includes links to other "passage of time" (like the Portrait of Louise Anna Kubelka from birth to adulthood and Nicholas Nixon's "25 Years of the Brown Sisters") and "obsessive" (like Eat22 and 365 Plrds) photo projects...via Information Aesthetics.
Cover Art: The Time Collection [Flash] "In 1978 Time Magazine gave to the National Portrait Gallery some 800 works of original art that had at one time or another appeared on its covers." The gallery has created an online-only exhibition of the covers (the museum is closed for renovation until July 4, 2006). "And while one may normally imagine ornately framed oils of distinguished luminaries when thinking of the NPG, the Time covers offer a much closer to 'street level' survey of the prominent figures of any specific period." [via CSM]
Wrestling with Diane Arbus "She set up no lights, just pulled out her Rolleiflex, which was half as big as she was, checked the aperture and the exposure, and tested the flash. Then she asked me to lie on the bed, flat on my back on the shabby counterpane. I did as I was told. Clutching the camera she climbed on to the bed and straddled me, moving up until she was kneeling with a knee on both sides of my chest. She held the Rolleiflex at waist height with the lens right in my face. She bent her head to look through the viewfinder on top of the camera, and waited".
Stipple Portrait Drawings and Pen and Ink Illustration by Wall Street Journal portrait artist Noli Novak.
British Portrait Miniatures at the V & A. 'These pages developed to compliment the Miniatures Gallery tell the story of the portrait miniature in Britain, from its first appearance in the 1520s, at the court of Henry VIII, to the height of its popularity in the early 19th century.'