Studying Expressions in Portraits

The J. Paul Getty Museum recently opened its new display showcasing the history of portraiture and its relation to human emotions. They bring together a collection of images that show the history and evolution of portraiture and how they're approached in photography. Here's a glimpse of what's inside In Focus: Expressions in Los Angeles. The show is open until October 7.

Erich Salomon (German, 1886 - 19Erich Salomon (German, 1886 - 1944)[ Portrait of Madame Vacarescu, Romanian Author and Deputy to the League of Nations, Geneva], 1928;Leonard Freed (American, 1929 - 2006) Demonstration, New York City, 1963; Unknown maker, German, [Close-up of Open Mouth of Male Student], about 1927 German, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Milton Rogovin (American, 1909 - 2011), Storefront Churches, Buffalo, preacher head in hand, eyes closed, 1958-1961; Nicholas Nixon (American, born 1947); W. Canfield Ave., Detroit, 1982 © Nicholas Nixon The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The human face has been a fascinating subject ever since art history. From the paintings Mona Lisa and The Scream, to portraits such as Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, the human expression has been studied and focused on.

The exhibition starts off with a smile, or should we say, the lack thereof during the 1880's. The standard photographic expression during those days was a blank expression. It wasn't until the 1880's did it becomes possible to capture smiles through handheld cameras and faster film. And yet, smiles still—the genuine, the smirk, the polite, the ironic. An example would be Milton Rogovin's Storefront Churches in which the expression of the preacher was not registered as a smile yet body language says so. This opens a conversation about the role of the camera in capturing candidness and non-predetermined expressions and poses.

About 45 works are hanging on the frames of the Getty, coming from different photographers, both famous and anonymous.

Walker Evans (American, 1903 - 1975) Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama, negative 1936; print 1950s; Lisette Model (American, born Austria, 1901 - 1983) [War Rally]., 1942, © Estate of Lisette Model, courtesy Baudoin Lebon/Keitelma;

Images are from the press kit.

2018-06-16 #news #portrait-photography #in-focus

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