Portraiture by Richard Brilliant

Portraiture by Richard Brilliant

This is a book that speaks of the complexity of portraiture. It asks the question, ‘What is a portrait?’  The answer is more complicated than I had thought and like many concepts in photography is tied up with the relationship between the person imaged, the photographer, the local or wider  context and the viewer. 


Chapter 1

Page 24 “The immanent power of a portrait image stimulates cognition with such force that the psychodynamic a of perception interfere with th comprehension of the image as something different from the image of the actual person.” 

Brilliant talks, quoting an example by Sartre, about transference producing the response to the image; I think this is an good use of this concept. 

P25 What is a likeness? It seems that for a likeness that there has to be a degree of perceptive agreement by the artist and viewer

P27. Stance. In a Renaissance portrait of a young man he looks at the viewer face on. “The youth addresses the viewer in the first person and shares his psychological space..” There is a confrontational element to this stance .

P28-29. The portrait of Abraham Lincoln. I have used this idea of a portrait within a portrait recently to connect the past to the present in the same image.  

P30. What’s in a name – the issue of how the name frames the portrait

P32. “Our social personality is a creation of other people’s thoughts. 

P38 Schema and signage. Physiognomic. 

Chapter 4

P60. Interesting picture by Norman Rockwell using a mirror. Adds authenticity to the self nature of the image. Later a picture of Hockney’s parents where he is imaged in a mirror in th scene. Lovis Corinth P 165 portrait of proud painter but doubtful reflection. (I like this showing the persona and hidden self in the same image which I tried to in another module. There is scope here to fabricate an image for one of the modules. 

P173. What are the limitations or boundaries if portraiture