Portrait Photography: How Should We See People?

CE 440-01 : 

non-credit – in person

  • Dates: March 2 – 9
  • Times: 12:30 – 3:30 PM
  • Meetings: 2
  • Days: Saturdays
  • Instructor: Len Bernstein


15 in stock


The history of photographic portraiture is as diverse as humanity itself: from Edward S. Curtis’ images of the North American Indians to Richard Avedon’s portraits of fashion models, to the pictures taken by Dorothea Lange during our nation’s Great Depression.
This two-day workshop explores how every successful portrait, whether on the cover of a national magazine or in a family album, taken in the studio or on the street, has something in common. “All beauty is a making one of opposites,” stated Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism, “and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” In the study of this landmark principle is the answer to: How should we see people—including ourselves? For example, every face that has ever been has the opposites of surface and depth, and our wonderful job as photographers is to try to capture the stirring relation of a person’s outward appearance and what he or she deeply feels.
There will be a portrait assignment given at the end of the first day, and for the second, attendees can submit one of their images from this assignment for discussion. To further your study of portrait photography you will also receive handouts listing important books, websites, and quotes.
Image by Len Bernstein © 2013

This course must meet minimum enrollment by February 24 in order to run. Register today! 

Supply List

  • To complete the assignment given on the first day of the workshop, students should have access to a camera they are familiar with, for example, a point-and-shoot, digital SLR, cell phone camera, or film camera.
  • The photograph from the assignment you’d like to bring for discussion on the second day of the workshop can either be emailed to the instructor or you can bring in a print. We will not be offering darkroom time for this course so be sure you have the off-campus access you need to work with film. 
  • If you are using a film camera you can have the film processed, and then have the negative for the image you’ve chosen either scanned so it can be emailed, or have a print made from it.
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