Portrait Competitions

Forums Crewe PS Business Portrait Competitions

This topic contains 19 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Ian McNab 2 years, 8 months ago.

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    There are indeed many types of Portraits. The environmental type where the subject is shown in their work place, for example a shoe maker. Also I have seen just the knurled hands of a basket maker with no sight of their face, simple but effective, (like Peters image of the lace maker), these could be described as Faceless Portraits.

    Interesting subject this, it is certainly making me re consider my approach to portraiture.




    The whole problem over what is a portrait is simply stemming from the fact that we have not written down what we mean. When our nature photographers asked if they might include portraits of animals other than humans they were told “No”. This was not a denial of the fact that non- human animal pictures are not portraits it was simply to avoid the competition becoming a re-showing of the nature pictures all over again.


    The same is true of all aspects of this discussion. It is only up to us to say what we will accept as a portrait.




    Martin McGing

    I suggest that we define what we will accept as a portrait for the 2017 competitions.  Then we will all know what we can and cannot submit.  In the meantime lets just enjoy the evening and respect the judges decision.


    Ian McNab

    Absolutely, Martin – as I understand it, this discussion is about 2017. It’s a bit late to revise the arrangements for next week’s portrait comps!


    Ian McNab

    John >>> Your point about animal pictures is more important than people may at first realise. There’s a sense in which, traditionally, a painting of an anonymous person and a painting of an anonymous animal would never have been called portraits. But Stubb’s painting of the famous racehorse ‘Whistlejacket’ is a portrait of a particular individual horse (just as a photograph of ‘Arkle’ was not just a picture of a generic horse). Whistlejacket would would have been recognised from his picture, and racing folk seeing it would have put a name to this particular individual. So it’s quite right not to allow a picture of a deer in the forest to be entered in a portrait competition; but it’s entirely OK, in art-historical terms, to accept a portrait of Fred’s dog ‘Gnasher’.

    Similarly, you could say that photographs of people aren’t portraits unless they are pictures of the individual person as themselves and that one could put a name to. Indeed, the important thing about Stubb’s portraits of racehorses is that the horse is named in the title of the picture, something that was always traditionally also the case with portraits of people. So pictures of people – say, a photograph of some anonymous bus driver, or a woman in a cheese factory, or some man at a battle reenactment – aren’t portraits; whereas a picture of ‘Bill Jones, a Liverpool bus driver’ or of ‘Phyllis Smith, retired cheese maker’, or of ‘George Goodman wearing his Civil War costume’, are.



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