Soon to be archived, then on to the next.
The obvious answer to that question is the more bizarre looking the subject the better the portrait.
I completely disagree.
I surely can't answer that question satisfactorly, but for me looking at these captures, part of it is in the eyes - a way of engaging... I don't know... I'm sure that's not much help
I actually like #1 as well- the guy with the red hat and the cigarette.
But I agree with you Will! I just can't help but wonder what that intangible connection is...when there are portraits with a direct gaze there is an ethereal and undefinable connection with great portraits, while others inexplicably fall flat, even though they have the same components.
i think great portraits are born out of a visual conversation. the bottom group of folks look caught in a conversation. the space between is warm - there is a relationship there. it's up to us, as viewers to determine what that relationship is. the two guys with the painted faces look less engaged. they don't seem empty, just uninterested. this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and maybe not even noticeable if they weren't up against the other images that are so incredibly strong.the bottom group of photos show an obvious mutual affinity that is rare.
I love these. What makes a portrait great? If its all wrong in all the right ways, evidently.
i think maybe context helps... little background bonuses. the first and third have nothing, and the middle has no charm... the four good portraits all have something else happening other than the portrait alone.
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