Saturday Six - Episode #390

I’m curious about some of your opinions about photography, particularly portraits of people. So here’s a set of questions that relate, one way or another, to portraits.

Be sure to check back this week and click on the links of bloggers who play along in the comments below! It’s a great way to find blogs you may not have visited and keep the conversation going!

Here are this week’s “Saturday Six” questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your blog… But don’t forget to leave a link to your blog so that everyone else can visit! Permission is not granted to copy the questions to message boards for the purpose of having members answer and play along there. Enjoy!

1. Describe your favorite old portrait of yourself: how old were you when the portrait was made and what were you doing? My father painted a portrait of me when I was just a toddler. He also painted one of my mother. Unfortunately, I can only recall the one of my mother, because I had seen it more recently... he gave it to her when they were divorced in 1970. But he still has my portrait so I cannot recall it at all.

2. Of the photos of people you have on display in your home, what percentage of them would you estimate have you in the photo? I would say I appear in about 15% of them - the 85% that haven't me where taken by me. I am the photographer here.

3. Which do you prefer in a portrait in terms of background: a solid color, a textured color, or a very scenic background? I would go with a textured background. I used to do that in my painting days. But I never got as far as doing a self-portrait when I was painting.

4. Which do you prefer in a portrait: the subject smiling, looking serious or looking like they’re in thought? You know, that very much depends on the subject. People are very different... one who looks serious may detract much from the portrait; others look good when they are in that pose. Some look good smiling, because it is their strongest expression and transforms their faces into something very pretty and/or inviting. That varies a lot. I always thought the Mona Lisa was terribly unattractive, and that a really genuine smile might have served her better.

5. Which do you prefer in a portrait: the subject making eye contact with the lens or not making eye contact with the lens? Well, again, that depends on what you are trying to achieve. I usually like looking into the lens - I feel that the eye contact perceived makes a big difference. But for other shots, having the subject look at another person, especially if the other subject is a baby or a spouse, is very compelling to look at as well.

6. You see a portrait of someone — male or female — who is in exceptionally good physical shape: how likely is that photo to make you take action to get in better shape yourself? Would that it were so. I tried all of that - putting up a thin person's image on the refrigerator. Putting my thinner image on the refrigerator. Now that my medication to relax my painfully tightened muscles works best as an absorptive medication, there is no losing weight involved - I haven't the strength or the energy to do so.

If you have a Reader’s Choice question you’d like to see asked (and answered), send me an email! I’d love to include it in a future edition of the Saturday Six.


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