Books by Klaus Bohn
The Art Within Portrait Photography
Foreword by Ken Whitmire
Portraiture is described in most dictionaries as first, a likeness of a person, especially of the face as a painting, drawing, photograph, etc. and second, a verbal description usually, but not always, of a person. To portray is to represent by a drawing, painting, carving or in more modern times, the last 165 years, with the medium of photography.
Photography, the word, is of Greek derivation: photo meaning light and graph meaning drawn or written. The generally assumed definition is “drawing with light,” “painting with light” or “portraying with light.”
Photography ushered in a new era of recording images in that it records them optically, mechanically, chemically and/or electronically; much as the typewriter and subsequently the word processor changed the logistics of writing by mechanical and electronic means. Both the typewriter/word processor and the camera, of course, record exactly what is put into them. If anything creative, perceptive or otherwise worthwhile comes out of either, it must be placed there by the artist.
Just as there are precious few literary masterpieces produced on the average keyboard day in and day out, it follows that the recording of images in general, is just that: the camera records the likeness of what is put in front of it. The process of producing creative or perceptive manuscripts or images is pretty much the same as it has been for many hundreds of years. It must come from the minds of the artists.
We in the portrait photography profession are gradually coming to the realization that we have inherited this profession from the brush artists, painters and sculptors of a hundred or so years ago. It behoves us to occasionally stop and think, “What have we done with it?” Is our emphasis on recording or do we strive for portraits with essence, created and presented in a manner that first attracts the eye, and then makes a lasting impression on the mind?
It is portraitists like Klaus Bohn who have helped retain the artistic essence of the profession during the drastic logistical changes of the last couple of decades. Not only has Klaus produced a great body of portrait work, he has developed the talent to put into words the deeper meaning of his portraits: Why were they commissioned? What were they intended to accomplish? How did he arrive at his perceptions? and How did he logistically transfer these perceptions into reality “on the canvas,” so to speak? Then finally, what mood or feeling did the finished portraits present to the viewers?; not only to the clients but to total strangers, who by just walking by become captivated by the essence and power of the presented imagery.
The Art Within Portrait Photography will not only be cherished by the general reader; for those in the profession of portraiture it is an added educational tool to gain knowledge and inspiration.
Ken Whitmire, M.Photog., CR, FASP
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