National Portrait Gallery- Feature Photography

September 26, 2009

Outside of National Portrait Gallery

While the National Portrait Gallery’s theme is American Art, one exhibit, called “Feature Photography,” has had various works of six photographers on display for the past couple of months. The portraits on display are by Katy Grannan, Jocelyn Lee, Ryan McGinley, Steve Pike, Martin Schoeller, and Alec Soth.The most interesting body of work was the photographs by Katy Grannan. The photographs are so real and raw. Many of her photographs experiment with texture. The colors are generally mundane, but the fabrics of the clothing the people in her photographs are usually contrasted by hard objects or surfaces that surround her subjects.

Another fascinating collection was by Mike Schoeller. His intimate style of portraiture involves a close up of the subject’s face. His subjects look right into the camera and are standing in front of a white background. Two particularly striking portraits were of female body builders. What was so interesting about those photographs were the soft, housewife/mother-like looking faces on the chiseled muscular bodies.

One of the photographs in Gannan’s collection featured actor Forest Whitaker. Her incorporation of celebrity is a sharp contrast from Martin Schoeller’s work. While Gannan makes the celebrity a part of her gritty world, Schoeller makes the celebrity the entire focus in the photograph with his extreme close-ups.

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One Response to “National Portrait Gallery- Feature Photography”

  1. bhoops said

    In response to your comment: I didn’t put the photos on chronologically because I wanted to give some background information on Beaton’s career and then proceed to analyze the differences between his two styles. I think readers would have been confused if I hadn’t discussed how he came to take photos of war-time scenes.
    I really like how you compare and contrast your two favorite photographers from the exhibition. I wish I could see the photos you’re talking about though. Were the photographs titled? Maybe you could put that in your post so readers can try to find them online.

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