“In a culture of photography we have lost the tension that the sitter’s power of censorship sets up in the painted portrait.’ To be photographed, Freud says, makes him feel that something disagreeable is being done to him. The main difference between a painted and a photographed portrait is simply, ‘the degree to which feelings can enter into the transaction from both sides. Photography can do this to a tiny extent, painting to an unlimited degree.”

I found this gem of wisdom in Lucian Freud Paintings by Robert Hughes, which I highly recommend in addition to The Man with the Blue Scarf by Martin Gayford. I am not going to enter into a one-sided discussion about whether or not Freud is right–I think he is generally right with a few notable exceptions. I take his opinion as more of a challenge, albeit a sisyphean one, to allow for an expanded transaction between the photographer and the sitter/subject. Any photographer working in portraiture should look at Freud’s work and look and look and look. I was lucky enough to see the etching posted here, Kai, at his show at MOMA in 2008 and the utter raw power contained within his work still unnerves me.

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