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Portrait Photography

In the 1830s, Nièpce discovered the process for setting images onto pewter plates. In 1833, upon Nièpce's death, Louis Daguerre and François Arago continued his experiments and invented the daguerreotype, a process which created a printed image on a silver plate that had been exposed to light. Photography was born.

Similarly to how portrait painting had dominated artistic output in previous centuries, portrait photography was to become the pillar of the Second French Empire's photographic industry. Lenses with a shorter focal length, which enabled reduced exposure times, gradually appear on the market. The required equipment was expensive and difficult to handle. Some photographers, called daguerreotypists, decided to open their own photography studios to make a profit from their endeavours. The daguerreotype process was temperamental, and photographers had to take their pictures with great precision and attention to detail. They welcomed many people into their studios and customers choose how they wished to be photographed from catalogue of poses. Originally only accessible to the bourgeoisie, lower prices resulting from the growing number of studios eventually attracted a wider customer base. This phenomenon infuriated the poet Charles Baudelaire who was frustrated by the sense of narcissism sparked by the daguerreotypists.

Despite his protests, the egotistical trend only grew with the emergence of 'carte de visite' portraits (small photographs, the size of today's business cards). These were the brainchild of Adolphe Eugène Disdéri came up with the idea of producing portraits akin to visiting cards in 1859. He printed eight portraits in a variety of poses onto a single plate and once developed they could be cut up into eight distinct “visiting cards". Very popular with the bourgeoisie, they highlighted the sitters' social status. 'Carte de visite' portraits featuring celebrities were also sold to customers, who could subsequently add them to their albums.

The photographer Nadar was one of the first to demonstrate a conscious artistic approach to producing these portraits. He emphasised facial expressions and ensured the sitter was comfortable and at ease before taking the photograph. He photographed the era's greatest thinkers and artists, including Honoré de Balzac, George Sand, and Victor Hugo. He even managed to reconcile Baudelaire with portraiture.

At the end of the 19th century, the art of photography started to enter the mainstream, with the arrival of the Kodak company. The use of the camera, and the taking of portraits, became everyday occurrences. A century later, it was the invention of the digital camera which challenged the status quo. Whereas before alterations could only be made to photographs when they were being taken or developed, with the digital camera editing became easier, quicker and more convenient. Digital photography has given photographers much more freedom when it comes to editing and new methods and techniques are constantly being explored.

Some of the photographers who have left their mark on the last century include: Cindy Sherman, who excelled in self-portraits, Annie Leibovitz, who captured celebrities, the wacky duo, Pierre and Gilles, as well as Diane Arbus, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Bettina Rheims.

So, do portraits help us to learn more about each other, to remember, to invent, to act, or to reconnect with ourselves? Find out on Artsper, by exploring the works of Formento & Formento, Naomi Vona, Ahmed Bennani, Chou Ching Hui, Samuel Cueto, Brno del Zou, Ren Hang, Markus + Indrani, Jerome Liebling as well as Annina Roescheisen.

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price,501:1000 facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Œuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers price,1001:5000 category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Gemälde*gemalde category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Pintura*pintura facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents price,5001:10000 price,500 facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,11991*​Master Artists|icon-masterartists*masterartists facet,11991*Grands Maitres|icon-masterartists*grands-maitres facet,11991*Große Meister|icon-masterartists*grosse-meister facet,11991*Maestros artistas|icon-masterartists*maestros-artistas facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*Abstract*abstract category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulpturen*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura facet,11997*Nouveaux artistes à découvrir|icon-new-remarquable-artists*nouveaux-artistes-a-decouvrir facet,11997*​New \u0026 remarkable Artists|icon-new-remarquable-artists*new-remarquable-artists facet,11997*Artistas nuevos y destacados|icon-new-remarquable-artists*artistas-nuevos-y-destacados facet,11997*Neue bemerkenswerte Künstler|icon-new-remarquable-artists*neue-bemerkenswerte-kunstler facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*moyen facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografien*fotografie category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Retrato*retrato facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Zeichnungen*zeichnung category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Print*print category,15*Drucke*editionen category,15*Edición*edicion facet,11697*Figuratif*figuratif facet,11697*Figurativo*figurativo facet,11697*Figurative*figurative facet,11697*Figurativ*figurativ facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Tiere*tiere facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,1674*Alltagsszenen*alltagsszenen facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit price,50001 category,24*Design*design category,24*Diseño*diseno price,1000:501 facet,12220*Artistes Français*artistes-francais facet,12220*French artists*french-artists facet,12220*Artistas franceses*artistas-franceses facet,12220*Französisch Künstler*franzosisch-kunstler facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,11634*Pop Culture Street Artists*pop-culture-street-artists facet,11634*Pop culture Street-artistes*pop-culture-street-artistes facet,11634*Popkultur Straßenkünstler*popkultur-strassenkunstler facet,11634*Cultura pop Street-artistas*cultura-pop-street-artistas facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large facet,108*Öl*ol facet,108*huile*huile facet,108*oil*oil facet,108*al oleo*al-oleo facet,126*acrylique*acrylique facet,126*Acryl-*acryl facet,126*acrylic*acrylic facet,126*acrílico*acrilico price,25001:50000
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