Art Principles In Portrait Photography

How to Apply the Highest Classic Artistic Principles to your Photography.

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Although there are other principles important in picture construction, these are indispensable in the practice of this new art. Their application is varied in each problem. For instance, in Fig. 117, where the background is light and the figure offers the dark note, we find an uncomfortable state of affairs in that the black of the hair despotically claims our attention, the arm visible on the right is almost equally obtrusive, and the bow at the belt is impertinent. Composition does not condemn these factors excepting when they are left unharmonized. It is our duty to learn to make use of them. The drawing 124 shows how the points 1, 2, 3, that in Fig. 117 are unsatisfactory, are linked in Fig. 116 as by an invisible chain to 5, 6, 7, 8, 4, encircling the figure, touching the frame line, breaking meaningless empty spaces, throwing depth into the background, and withal centring our attention upon the face.
Where masses and vigorous spots of light interlace with similar masses and spots of dark against a common half-tone ground the problem becomes truly complex, and requires the deeper knowledge of composition that comes only with long study. A master handling these factors is Carolus Duran. A study of his pictures would help to solve the problem, and will be of special interest to those whose nature demands an expression of the color sense embodied with the portrait.