Black and White Portrait with character of texture

Character Portrait

As both a portrait (which includes headshots)  photographer, and documentary photographer I am always fascinated by the character of a persons face; just what does each and every line tell? what do the eyes say?  That jaw or shape of nose and mouth say about the person portrayed?

August Sander (November 1876 – April 1964) a German portrait photographer and documentary photographer. Who is best known for his portraits, as shown by his series People of the 20th Century. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic.  The series is divided into seven sections: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.) What Sander is aiming to say is that each profession or category of person has a resemblance to each other, i.e. every butcher has a similar look etc.

The featured photo was a test shot for a series of portraits that I am thinking of shooting. It shows Mike, who has a face full of texture and character. The lines show strength, wisdom, and a man of age who’s spent much time in the sunshine. Ahh maybe he’s a Greek fisherman? His eyes are gentle and caring, he’s not afraid to look you in the eye, there’s a hint of a smile in his eyes and on his face. Mike is a builder (of the bespoke type) born and raised in London, married with 3 children and 3 grandchildren. His family are the most important thing to him, along with helping other people.

By looking at the headshot of Mike, would you have thought he was a builder? Was English? What did you initially think? Was August Sander correct in his thinking?

The portrait was created using  a Leica Monochrom with a Summicron APO 75mm lens, and natural window light.

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