Contemporary portraiture.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by ruslan, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. So what is contemporary portraiture as it is received/understood and published in magazines and websites? I don't speak about experimental photography I mean near-to-classic but contemporary photography, mostly portraits. If you have any, please provide some samples/examples. Maybe Leibovitz, or... how about Mc Curry? Your opinion?
  2. Three photographers worth looking at are Rineke Dijkstra, Nan Goldin, and Peter Hujar (died in 1987 but I still think of him as "contemporary"), not because they're the best but because they're all interesting and speak with a personal voice. Important to a portrait is character, seen in the subject and seen in the photo, coming from the subject and coming from the photographer.



    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  3. IHMO contemporary portrait photography (by living, working photographers) is what it is. By restricting answers to photographers that take only "near-to-classic" photos and excluding those that may take "experimental photos", you're pre-selecting what may or may not be 'contemporary portrait photography'.

    Best 12
    best 40

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  4. Absolutely, the former seems to be very popular with magazines like BJP and Foam, whilst it leaves me cold.

    Saw this exhibited for the first time on it's 40th anniversary and it blew me away.
    Handsworth's self-portrait project 40 years on: 'Giving people that voice was extraordinary'
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  5. I've been doing "contemporary portraiture" since I first picked up a camera in the late 60's. I call my style "documentary portraiture" because most of them are not set up, but spontaneous. Check out my 70's folder.
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  6. Google??? See for yourself. Otherwise, you're just enabling another rancorous slugfest the above post exemplifies.
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  7. All the 3 seem like Diana Arbus successors with dead pan influence. Rineke Dijkstra's style seermed flat to me (rendering forms and spaces) and artsy face expressions as well as torn shabby suit coats. But still, thanks for your info.

    Yes, but not to Dmitry Ageev. There are some reasons I know their (our Russian photographers like him) "kitchen" where they find commercial models and how they disproportionately use Photoshop, so no to Ageev. Their works are totally undistinguishable. They take pictures for attracting their flock who will be attending their workshops, nothing more. There are about 10 of them here. They like (I say prefer) freckled teen models and do the same. absolutely the same! Once I saw real faces of their models' and I was totally shocked and frustrated with how much PS they apply.
    I consider Mc Curry very prominent master so I will look into the rest of the group. Thanks.

    I have known Penn since 1998 maybe earlier - since Bee Stung Lips. I love his style. I would not call him modern, contemporary, it is all good old school.
    I wonder why nobody mentioned Herb Ritts?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  8. Penn was most certainly modern and innovative. Much of his work may look "old school" now but it did not when he was creating.

    Someone just did mention Herb Ritts . . .
  9. Vaguely reminds me of the popular painter, Keane.


    Great movie about her, by the way, with Amy Adams, called Big Eyes.
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  10. Dimitri Ageev: I'd never heard of him until now. You might not like his style but his work has been widely featured on some 'authoritative' websites. If you don't like his work that's fine. I'm just noting that others do.

  11. I have to admit to being very partial to Helmut Schmutt, avante-garde photographer who dressed his subjects in dog suits.

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  12. And then there was "jumpology"

    I think it was popular about the same length of time that 'high definition' lasted.:rolleyes:
  13. I don't know that there is any particular style that defines 'contemporary portraiture.' For example, I don't think you could look at a portrait that was taken 50 years ago and one that was taken yesterday and be able to identify which is which simply by the picture itself. In the links Mike Morrell provides, there are some stunning images, but I don't see any commonality that would allow you to identify what era they came from. So for me, contemporary portraiture would simply be portraits taken within the last 10 years, to put a number on it.
  14. In many cases, this would be the case. A lot of portraits are made to be, or just are, timeless. In many cases, this would not be the case, because a lot of portraits are made both to reflect the times and set trends. So, I'm not sure I could look at any of the following portraits and not be able to identify the era in which they were taken.

    Julia Margaret Cameron. 1866

    George Hurrell, 1933

    Terence Donovan, 1967

    Richard Avedon, 1981

    Ryan McGinley, 2005
  15. All great shots, and yes, one might be able to guess at the era by looking at specific props, clothing, or hairstyles, but as for a style of portraiture, I'd be very hard-pressed to pick the time frame in which any of the shots was taken. Take the Avedon, for example. The part in the middle of the model's hair might give a hint as to when the shot was taken if one knew that such hairstyles were popular in the 1980's, but if the hair was cut in a crew instead, it would be a wild guess as to the era in which it was 'contemporary.'
  16. The soft focus, type of pose, and look in the eyes in the Cameron is distinctive of an era.

    The lighting of Hurrell screams Hollywood heyday.

    “Style of portraiture” doesn’t exclude pattern, hairstyle, or clothing. It especially doesn’t exclude how they’re used by the photographer. Donovan’s inclusion of so much conflicting pattern, and in color, was a hallmark of the sixties. So was the distortion due to his choice of lens and perspective.

    Avedon’s straightforwardness, matter-of-fastness, sharpness, lack of background, and touch of the odd is a signature and connotes the eighties quite well.

    McGinley’s heightened colors, in your face poses, more exposed expressions and looks, carefree compositions, and willingness to provide photographic flourish is representative of a Gen X and beyond style.

    Obviously, any one of these qualities can be used in different eras. A contemporary certainly might make a soft-focus, sepia-toned portrait with a very staged pose and expression. But, if a photographer did so, a whole lot of people would say with understanding, “he made that portrait in an 1800s style.”

    Eras are used all the time in referencing style, photographic and otherwise, in nearly every history of photography book or museum intro you’ll ever read.
  17. Mark Tucker and GIles Clement.
    if you goooogles them you will finds them.

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