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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 27 Sep 2017 (Wednesday) 12:05
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Characteristics of a Legacy Portrait

 
RDKirk
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Sep 27, 2017 12:05 |  #1

For discussion:

What might be the characteristics of a portrait that would make successive generations cherish a portrait of Great-great-grandma Brittany or Great-great-grandpa Brad?

Tonal key? Physical size? Pose? Expression? What are some of the similarities of portraits that people cling to when they don't even personally know the persons portrayed?




  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Sep 27, 2017 12:22 |  #2

This is something that I have given some thought to recently, but have not decided on any specifics. I do beleive that large prints are more likely to provoke a response. Given the restorations I have seen, I feel that maintaining the aged look of older prints is important too.

I personally like the harder lighting and classic posing in most older portraits.

I wonder if all that still applies to modern prints?

Could a recent photo be lit , posed and color graded to look like it had some age, and would that increase its perceived value either now or in a decade?


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Sep 27, 2017 14:26 |  #3

Time and change makes any portrait as the true legacy.


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MalVeauX
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Sep 27, 2017 14:31 |  #4

I would think a portrait that shows the connection (even if candid), or a formal (purpose) would hold up a lot longer to someone because it either invokes an emotion or resembles something purposeful, like a formal.

Compared to what my great-great-grandkids will look back to and see mom's cellphone selfies with them as babies and that's the historical images they have to look to. :(

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RDKirk
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Sep 28, 2017 09:20 |  #5

I spend a good amount of time studying painted portraits (love browsing A Stroke of Genius (external link) website ), where the primary intention of the image is to be a legacy portrait that will hang on the wall for generations.

The most basic similarity is, of course, that they are in hard copy--physical form. Another is physical size--almost never less than 16x20 and frequently 30x40 or larger. The size is often a function of achieving a reproduction of head size close to life, so a 16x20 is likely a head-and-shoulders portrait while a 30x40 may be half- or 3/4 length.

There is something visually impressive about scale in seeing a good portrait as it nears life size, and that is, I think, one of the factors that make the portrait more likely to be retained.




  
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Sep 28, 2017 10:41 |  #6

For an ancestral portrait, I would say 90% pose and 10% technical expertise. The pose part is the hardest. Rather than a formal pose, I would value it more it they were doing something, preferably with a child who might be my mother/father or grandmother/grandfathe​r.


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RDKirk
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Sep 29, 2017 23:01 |  #7

Families don't throw away painted portraits--why do they throw away photographs?




  
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airfrogusmc
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Oct 03, 2017 07:53 |  #8

In my opinion the ones that really stick are the ones that capture a bit of the person. That above technical qualities. If you have a technically sound images that captures nothing of the person then what do you have? Something worth tossing I would say. If you twist people into poses that do not reflect who they are but are some kind of pre packaged, cookie cutter, set of poses then what is that saying about your subject? The truly great portrait photographers would usually meet with their subjects and watch they their subjects natural body language and then they tried to pull that out when it came time to take portraits.




  
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AZGeorge
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Oct 10, 2017 12:32 |  #9

RDKirk wrote in post #18463175 (external link)
Families don't throw away painted portraits--why do they throw away photographs?

Thanks for starting a good discussion.

As you've suggested, scale makes a difference as does volume. Many families have huge physical or electronic piles of photographs. A painted portrait, even of indifferent quality, is a relative rarity for most.


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RDKirk
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Oct 10, 2017 13:08 |  #10

I do senior portraits and note that while the seniors usually want something illustrating their personal activities, their parents want something more conventional for the wall.

I'm also old enough to have seen most of my own high school cohort not at all wishing to revisit those high school activities on their own walls today. But the conventional portraits that don't present no-longer-applicable activities or embarrassingly outdated styles.




  
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Oct 11, 2017 09:26 |  #11

RDKirk wrote in post #18463175 (external link)
Families don't throw away painted portraits--why do they throw away photographs?

A painting can't be recreated from a [physical or digital] negative.

Once the post work is done, reprints from digital negatives are easy. Reprints from physical negatives are a bit more difficult, but still possible - definitely not starting completely from scratch, as would be the recreation of a painting.


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RDKirk
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Oct 11, 2017 10:10 |  #12

nathancarter wrote in post #18470415 (external link)
A painting can't be recreated from a [physical or digital] negative.

Once the post work is done, reprints from digital negatives are easy. Reprints from physical negatives are a bit more difficult, but still possible - definitely not starting completely from scratch, as would be the recreation of a painting.

When I say "throw away," I mean "throw away." Discard entirely, not reprinted...simply not cared enough about to retain.




  
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Colin ­ Glover
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Oct 13, 2017 12:34 |  #13

I'd say that capturing the emotions and expressions go a long way to achieving this. And being of a resolution you can print large enough to go in the great hall of Castle Myen (your lounge). Joyous facial expressions and anything that hints at what lies beneath the facade should do the trick.


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Characteristics of a Legacy Portrait
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