A painting by Michael
A painting by Michael
THE ART OF THE PORTRAIT
The idea for this kind of picture began with a completely formed perception. In a mental image I saw the aesthetics of a process. In its simplest form, it was, for the artist to compel perception.
That is, to elicit, to compel the person whose portrait is being made to be thoroughly engaged: that is, to see the photographer.
I knew that perception between individuals is a large issue. We can barely see ourselves. And, most of us have only a rudimentary sense of another individual.
I have always regarded fine art painting as the antecedent of fine art photography, in the sense that the aims and preoccupations of an authentic fine art photographer and a fine art painter, in history, are identical.
There are differences, of course. Photography is, perforce, a simpler art. There is so much less control in photography. A painter can say so many things over a large landscape. Essentially fine art photography can say only a single thing.
In fine art painting since the Renaissance, for the most part, the subject of a portrait is looking off to the side. They are not engaging the painter. They are sitting for a portrait. The painter imagines their character; he is in the context of his time. He creates the work of art. They are separate. She sits and he imagines, through the wonder of the human mind and a thousand brush strokes.
When you see a portrait in which the person seems to be actually looking at you, you can, in a way, actually engage the individual in the painting. In this portrait the painter and the subject are with each other, looking at each other.
Shining Red Light in a Bleak Place
Innocent Civilians Killed in War
West 44 Street New York City
Mrs Jennie Dapolito
Morning Trip to Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry
On Thompson Street in Lower Manhattan
Girl On Thompson Street
Nude in a Forested Place #1
Nude in a Forested Place #2
Nude in a Forested Place #3
Man in bar on 10th Avenue in New York City playfully gesturing to passerby taking his picture – 1970.
The Photographer 1982
A Holocaust Victims Memorial Sculpture
By the Artist