When Obama takes the oath of office, he won't be standing alone. This week's cover of The Nation features a portrait of an Obama inauguration presided over by Thurgood Marshall and attended by more than 60 civil rights icons. [more inside]
Obama's People [full-screen slideshow]: one photographer; one background; fifty-two members of the incoming US administration. Oh, and one "significant item" per person. The kind of thing -- not just a political piece, but a photographic project -- that reminds you what the institutional clout of the New York Times can make possible.
When the House of Commons required a portrait of outgoing PM Tony Blair, to whom did they turn? Phil Hale. [more inside]
"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]
PhotoFunia: take a portrait, upload it, and see the magic.
Elizabeth Heyert struggles to remove the photographer from portraiture, moving contra Richard Avedon. Three series: Sleepers (interview), Travelers (interview), Narcissists [NSFWish] (essay).
Photographer Zaida Ben-Yusuf (1869-1933) was an important figure in the pictorialist photography movement in late 19th and early 20th century New York. The first woman to embark on building a "gallery of illustrious Americans," Ben-Yusuf attracted to her Fifth Avenue studio many of the most prominent artistic, literary, theatrical and political figures of her day. See the first exhibit ever on her photography at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC (through Sept. 1), view the online exhibit or read the book.
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
Like to faire une photo? You're not alone. The inimitable (but perhaps for not much longer) National Geographic magazine has advice for taking portraits, travel photography, landscapes, excitingly vague 'adventure' photos and even plan old digital photography. After you've created magic how about selling it or getting published? Sharing is so 2007.
Ever wondered what it is like to have your portrait painted? How would you pose ... "sidelong glance, coy grin, gazing into the distance, serious and stylish"? Here's an interesting perspective on the subject, describing the process start to finish, written by a sitter, but published on the website of the painter, together with his added commentary on the process. And how did the subject like his finished portrait? "In a word, the painting makes me uncomfortable. ... It must be a terrific portrait." (via)
The National Potrait Gallery held a competition for new entries into the gallery. The winner is a fabulous painting by David Lenz. There is a great deal of focus in the exhibit of imagery that is truthful, but not necessarily flattering. The winner is both truthful and flattering. Lenz's subject is is his son, who has Down syndrome. The title, "Sam and the Perfect World" is quite poignant. There is a long NPR program covering the entire topic of portaiture in general and this portrait specifically.
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 Uncanny Valley of the Portrait Dolls Wouldn't your daughter like a doll that looks just like her? Wouldn't your son love to pal around with his very own clone? You can get it done in paper, felt, cloth, plastic, bobblehead, porcelain or magnets! For schoolgirls, toddlers, babies (preemies too!) and even fetuses. Don't worry Mom and Dad, you can get them too!
Creative Americans: The Carl Van Vechten Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress consists of 1,395 photographs taken by American photographer Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) between 1932 and 1964. The bulk of the collection consists of portrait photographs of celebrities, including many figures from the Harlem Renaissance. Portraits include those of Tallulah Bankhead, Salvador Dali, Truman Capote, Dizzy Gillespie, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eartha Kitt, and Joe Louis. They are all available in medium or high resolution JPEG’s or uncompressed archival TIFF versions.
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.'
Simon Hoegsberg's latest project involved stopping passersby and asking what they were thinking at exactly that moment. These are their thoughts and portraits.
Is this the face of William Shakepeare? Only two likenesses of Shakespeare are considered to be genuine; both were created when he was in his final years, or after his death. On Friday the Globe and Mail reported that an anonymous engineer in a mid-sized Ontario city has a painting, handed down through twelve generations, of Shakespeare at the height of his career. It may be the only portrait painted of Shakespeare in his lifetime. Family lore states that it was painted by John Sanders, reputedly a bit actor in the same theatrical company as Shakespeare who also did such jobs as painting scene sets.
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