What makes a great portrait?
© Graham Nash (self-portrait)
What makes a great portrait? What are the elements that make a portrait really special?
Few weeks ago, a reader initiated a conversation about these interesting questions with Jörg Colberg [from Conscientious] and myself. Our discussion about the features that define a good portrait lead to the inevitable realization that any interpretation is subjective and that emotional reactions to the image are often summarized with unclear statements like:
Great pictures have “it”!
But what is “it”?
Even when we acknowledge that this is a subjective topic, we thought that it would be very interesting to explore it with other people whose opinion could provide informative perspectives.
This post, that is published in conjunction with Conscientious, illustrates the opinions of a number of great photographers, editors, curators and bloggers when they try to define “what is it” that makes a great portrait. All of them were extremely generous to take some time to share with us their views on the following questions:
- What makes a good portrait?
- Could you provide us an example of a portrait that you really like and explain why the portrait works so well for you?
What follows is a very interesting and charming article that combines their opinions. Before you read it, I like to express my sincere appreciation to each contributor, to Frank Gross whose questions triggered our interest to pursue this project and to Jörg Colberg for his cordial collaboration.