02 September, 2017

No Beauty Without Truth

Anastasia Snow - Logical Unsanity Books and Miscellaneous Phantasmagoria, Bardon
Sigma 85mm, f/1.4 Art

I like the photographer Peter Lindbergh — and not just because he's one of the few photographers who's older than I am. When he was doing the 2017 Pirelli Calendar, he said, 
“There is no beauty without truth. All this fake making up of a person into something that is not them cannot be beautiful. It is just ridiculous.” 
I have a similar view: I see a spectrum with "Authentic" on the one end, and "Contrived" on the other. I think it's clear, however, that as soon as a photographer brings subjects to locations new to them and poses them, it's contrived.

So it seems to me that "beauty" in portrait photography relates to the appearance of truth and the appearance of authenticity. And, from that, the two obvious questions for me are: 
  1. Do the subjects actually bring their real selves to the shoot?
  2. And, if so, through my choices (of environment, lighting, perspective, clothes and poses) do I hide or reveal them?

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