Saturday, June 25, 2005

The difference between digitally manipulated portraits and traditional portraiture

Traditional portraiture is about revealing the truth, uncovering something about the person you're photographing. It's all about communicating the character of your subject. However a lot of what we see nowadays is image manipulated portraiture where software plays a great role in producing the look of the end product.

The point of departure for these image makers is to use the subject as the start for their own 'artistic' interpretation. The traditional portrait photographer works the other way round. They use their photographic skill to uncover a 'truth' about the subject.

To put it another way. The traditional portrait photographer focused on revealing more about the person in the portrait. The digital artist is focused on revealing more about themselves through the way they portray their subject.

Both are legitimate approaches, so long as every step has a purpose and contributes to the meaning of the image, ie not just manipulation for it's own sake. The only true measure of success is whether the image really connects and communicates with the viewer.
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