Wednesday, 6 February 2008

What makes a great portrait?

Image copyright Richard Billingham

This is a question that they have been asking over at Conscientious asking various people to give their views and examples. Richard Billingham's project "Ray's a laugh" was a piece of work that I have admired, way back since my college days, and has, like good photography should, whether portraiture or any other genre, stayed with me.

The whole series is a portrait, a group portrait, of his family and of Billingham's past, and on top of that for me, some of the individual pieces are as good as any portraits in photography. The portrait (above) of his Mother Liz 1995, it's not only a beautifully observed photograph but also raw and tender, in a way that can only come from trust by the sitter and knowledge of subject by photographer.

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