The previous post has set me thinking that there might be a photo book in my pictures of people sitting in quiet moments. This would be in a similar vein to my Ruckenfigur Revisited (2013). More elevated examples are Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook (2003) and Andre Kertesz’s On Reading (2008).
The seated figure is synonymous with the portrait and thus has innumerable precedents in painting and photography. Painted portraits most often depict a ‘sitter’, whose stillness is consistent with the nature of the medium. Very slow shutter speeds required a motionless stance for early photographic portraits and seated poses still predominate.
But are my pictures portraits? A simple definition of a portrait is, ‘a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders.’ It usually represents a collusion between the artist and the sitter, though this is neither implicit nor explicit in the definition. I think my pictures are closer to street photography than portraiture, though they do display something of ‘the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person’. There is no direct collusion with the sitter.
Photos: 1. Botanic Garden, Cambridge, February 2019; 2. Maharini Take Away, Cambridge, July 2018; 3. Town and Country Fair, Parker’s Piece, Cambridge, June 2017