I read Jennifer’s lovely post about portraits and that made me think. And to be honest I haven’t been able to stop thinking about photography and the definitions in that post. Let me start by saying this isn’t me saying I know better – I just have to share my thoughts about how I look at photography all together.
A starting point
It all started when I read the definition of portraits:
”a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
There is two things I object to. The first is that portraits most be of “people” – and I think I share that objection with Jennifer. But second I also object to the part that portraits is a representation of a person. Because I always think that a portrait is more than just that. From my point of view I think that we as photographer are a part of the picture. I don’t think that portrait’s only are a representation of the subject but also a representation of the photographer.
Is the photographer invisable?
In any photographic image the result is a representation of the photographer and his or her knowledge about the subject. But also of the photographers values, perspective and objectives (which can be both personal or business) etc. Reading the definition of portraits make me wonder where is the photographer? We do interpret our motives: toys or persons. And that affects the portrait and in the end the image. We as photographers always give the viewer our representation of the motive. And every definition of photography ought to include that. As I see it 🙂
The image is representaion of the photographer
For me photography of toys or people is about the photographer as well as the motive. In my photography I don’t think that I even can do a portrait of who a person is or who or what a toy are. My strongest believe is that I only can do a picture of what I see and ”think” that person/toy is. So even though I love Jennifer’s post about portrait, I don’t agree with the idea that I as a photographer can be invisible and only portray or make a representation a person or a toy. We -as photographers -are, as I see it, very much part of the image.