Portrait Project – Real vs. Ideal – 03/31/2016 – Becca Schoen

Ideal
BECA !!!!!RealBECA !!!!!-2

In terms of the design element, the “Ideal” portrait could have more energy and more life by Becca being on a third, rather than just slapping Becca on the center. The “Real” portrait, I changed from the colder color scheme to a warmer one to fit the whites and golds prominent in the photo.

1. Becca Schoen’s visage can clearly be seen. Her happy, cheerful moments can be seen in the first photo, but her more somber, calm moments can be seen in the second. What she does is ambiguous in both portraits, Becca simply is, she exists. The notions of real vs. ideal do change the questions though, ideal focuses on other people’s standards and notions of normativity, while real focuses on the actuality.
2. Real and Ideal are possible in a representation: pictures only tell one side of a person’s personality, but they are indeed able to portray that one side accurately, small as it may be. Posing can also play a large part into expression and portraying a part of a personality. Although posing is inherently staged, it can accurately portray glimpses of one’s personality through the air that a pose can create.
3. The wardrobe is consistent in both pictures: Becca is wearing the same dress and makeup. The setting is in the same building, but different rooms: one where sunlight was ample and another where all the lights were off and the light was softer and dimmer. The first picture’s direction was toward the camera, as Becca is staring at the camera. The second picture’s direction is toward the bottom right of the camera, as she is staring there. The colors are primarily warm, pointing to Becca’s amicable personality. The composition is somewhat bland for the first picture, pointing to the “Ideal” of society, however, for the second picture, it is centered, but Becca’s gaze is not toward the center. The lighting for the first picture is “ideal” and less harsh, but the “real” has harsh shadows.
4. I don’t believe so, I meant for these two portraits to have an objective gaze, stripped of gender.
5. The True Self is one where someone can accept both flaws and strengths (both light and shadows), but the False Self is one where someone tries to mask their flaws (their shadows) and tries to fill everything in with their strengths.

 

Amanda Comments:

  1.  I can tell that in both pictures it is Rebecca.  In the first picture she looks happy or content with herself and confident.  In the second one, she looks more serious  maybe even solemn.  She has a sort of porcelain doll like nature because of the closeness of the shot and how much makeup she is wearing.  She looks like a very pretty girl in both pictures, but I am not sure that either picture portrays how she always is.  Even in the first picture, which seems to be the most real, she probably does not always have her makeup and hair done nicely, and the lighting for pictures probably isn’t always that prime.  She is very obviously female and appears to be very well off because of her clothes and her expressions and her makeup.  With both of these pictures together, I could picture her as either a classical Southern Belle or a city socialite.  The notions of real and ideal seem to slightly alter the question of what this person is like because we tend to tell a lot about people from their expressions and from first impressions.  However, in the photographs, I am not sure that we ever will see the “real” Becca, given the nature of how we have been taught to pose for photographs and how photographers are taught to portray their subject in the best light.
  2. As I alluded to earlier, I don’t know that it is ever possible to take a “real” photograph.  No matter how candid the picture is, it somehow always feels posed.  It’s like the idea of looking in a mirror; we see an image of ourselves just as much as we see ourselves.  I think photographs have become a lot the same way because of the way we have been trained to want to copy what we see in magazines or on TV, other types of pictures.  When we see a camera, we are automatically trained to pose ourselves in a way that makes us look the best even if we desire to be funny or “true to ourselves.”  Posing automatically suggests that we are pretending to be what we have always wanted to be, taking away from who we truly are.
  3. The simple wardrobe of the first photograph does suggest that this is how Becca normally is.  She doesn’t get too dressed up, like she is in the second photo.  She is also in a fairly normal setting, maybe not even one we would usually take professional photos in, making the viewer feel it is a bit less staged.  She is also facing us, which immediately makes the photograph more person because we can read her expression.  The color is very light, and the lighting is a bit yellow which complements the color of her hair and face well.  The way that the background is out of focus also draws us to her face.  The slight tilt that she has to her head, however, suggests that she is a little bit posed.  She is very aware that the camera is there because she is smiling and holding herself a certain way, despite what measures have been taken to make the photograph feel real.  Maybe it feels real because she feels most comfortable in this position when being photographed?  The darker colors and lace used in the picture make it seem more ideal.  The fact that we are so close to Becca and are only seeing part of her face takes away the number of physical features we have to judge her by to figure out who she really is.  The makeup also procludes who she is by covering up her skin so that the viewer sees her in a certain way.
  4. In the second picture, the camera definitely seems to be male.  There is something mysteriously beautiful about it but also a little bit uncomfortable because of her expression.  She knows she is begin watched and seems to be shying away from it in some ways.  She feels a lot more meek and less confident than she appears in the first picture.  The first picture I feel like could have been taken by either a male or a female.  Her mom would have wanted to portray her in this happy and confident manner for a family picture frame just as much as a male figure would want to portray how beautiful she is.  I think the placement of the photograph would be what determines the nature of the photographer.  If it was in a house, I would guess her mom took it, but if it was photoshopped to be given a more plain/professional background, I might have assumed that a male photographer took it because of the way the beauty of her face and features are so well highlighted and documented.
  5. I think both of these photographs might represent some aspects of the true self, but I don’t believe we would ever be able to really know Becca simply from photographs of her.  We would always be missing some deeper aspect of who she is that we can only know by having her tell us.  These portraits, however, don’t seem to represent a false self but maybe just her goal for how she wants to be every day.  There isn’t anything false about Becca in these photographs, but maybe she is trying to tell us who she wants to be and how she wants us to see her as real in an effort to become that person.

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