The desire to depict a human being with a drawing or paint is ancient, but it has lost none of its fascination. In the past, the portrait was an attempt to keep the subject “alive”, to attain some sort of immortality, and this too has not changed much.
The challenge of the portrait is to go beyond a superficial representation of the subject and to delve deeper to portray the spirit or soul of a person, which is not often achieved. This requires a sensitivity to the subject that is not made any easier with the photograph nor with the advent of digital technology.
The portrait is usually staged or posed, but entails an interpretation that looks natural and eliminates the “barrier” between the artist and subject, allowing for, at least, a glimpse of the true character to come through. (D.G.)