Friday, September 9, 2011

Portraiture & Representation : Never Stop Moving

How do you capture an individual's essence in a portrait?

Portrait photography is one of the oldest areas of the art form. Taking a lead from painted pictures of heads of state, to portray their power, wealth and class, photographs took over from the 'official portrait' early on in photography's rise to prominence.

The use of portrait photography as a tool to communicate status was democratised quickly, allowing the middle classes to influence the view others had of their place in society, their town and their neighbourhood.

At the same time, portrait photograph was taken on by establishment, for use of identification of individuals for official purposes. Identity cards, criminal records, employment files, medical records, driving licenses and most importantly of all, passports.

This officialisation gave portrait photography a hard, impersonal edge. Where previously the taking of a portrait was seen as an achievement of and demonstration of status, it took on sinister connotations of tracking and surveillance overseen by officialdom.

These images in Never Stop Moving show that movement, which you'd not traditionally relate to portraits, is instinctive to us all. From nervous ticks, to applauding someone, to dancing to a song, movement is something we all share, but we all do it differently and why shouldn't it be captured in portraits?

For more images from this project, click the link on the right to be taken to Flickr, or click here.

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