Substance and truth

Substance and truth by bang*
Substance and truth, a photo by bang* on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
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“The truth is, no portrait of substance has people smiling. Look at the history of painting, Rembrandt, Titian, Goya, Velasquez, Sargent, Vermeer, DaVinci, etc., the subjects gaze to the viewer is neutral at best, neither inviting nor forbidding. It is there for the viewer to see and feel. Smiling is like much of American popular culture, superficial and misleading. It is part of our vernacular, but it should be expunged in photographs.”

Leica M 50mm

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One thought on “Substance and truth

  1. Hmmm interesting thought. However my understanding on the lack of smiling in portraits in the past even photographic ones were due to the fact that the subject had to sit for a prolonged time. Naturally a genuine smile cannot be held for long. But a captured honest smile I think is quite beautiful and brings out another facet of a person’s character. It does give me something to think about though. While trying to find where this quote originated I think I understand a little more clearly the idea they are trying to convey. The false smile is a lie but the speed of the photography medium today and a photographer’s ability to connect with their subject can bring about a genuine smile. These are my thoughts on the statement. Thanks for sharing because it has made me think how I want to conduct my upcoming portrait session.

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