Project #16827 - Victorian and Contemporary Portraiture

Assignment Overview

"Portraiture is a genre that attempts to represent the human form in its true form. This genre adopts a similar style as was depicted by the old visual art forms of canvas painting and sculptor carving. However, the medium of photography forever changed portraiture in terms of both production and access for people interested in a representation of their likeness."

Website links have become attractive tools for advertising photographic portrait services and filling the current market needs for portraiture and social events.

Assignment Description

Conduct a web search on a portrait photographer in your geographic area. Stick to local studios, rather than big nation-wide chains like Picture People and Portrait Innovations. If your area is very small, look regionally or in a larger city close to you. Select one photography studio's website to explore in greater depth.

In this assignment, you will make connections to real-world applications, consumers' needs, and advertising ideas by exploring a commercial website that advertises portrait photography. You will compare the contemporary portrait to Victorian portraits you studied this week and discuss how photographs were advertised, shared, and collected in the past.

Use a Microsoft Word document to create a report (750 words minimum... roughly two to three pages); support your statements with appropriate references whenever necessary. Follow current MLA guidelines for writing style, grammar, spelling, and citation of sources.

Assignment Step-by-Step Instructions

    1. Compose a written paper (750 words minimum) that discusses all the topics as described below.
    2. Review chapter "A Plentitude of Portraits 1839–1890" in your course textbook as well as this week's online lectures.
    3. Start a web search for portrait photography in your city or general geographic area.
      1. How many links appear?
      2. Are any of the studios familiar to you?
    4. Select one of the portrait photography studio's websites to explore in more depth.
      1. Make a note of the full URL for your report.
      2. Why did this studio stand out in your research?
      3. What makes it unique?
    5. Look at the market for portrait photography in general in your area. In your paper, discuss the market for portrait photography and consider the following:
      1. What is the average rate for a portrait session?
      2. How long does a typical portrait session last (according to the information you found on the websites)?
      3. What does a portrait package include?
      4. Do most portrait photographers advertise studio portraits or on-location sessions?

Compare the studio you chose to the local market (in terms of price, experience, product offerings, etc.).

  1. What draws customers to a particular studio or a portrait photographer? With the prevalence of image-capture devices in the market today, why do consumers continue to visit professional portrait studios rather than taking their own portraits? Discuss your opinion in your narrative paper and support it with appropriate research and reasoning.
  2. Visit each page of the website you chose. Look closely at the navigation, branding, galleries, and written components of the website. When evaluating the website, consider the following:
    1. What stylistic approaches are common throughout the images on the website?
    2. What is unique about this studio or professional photographer, and how does the website advertise and emphasize unique skills or experience?
    3. How does the website share the business practices of the studio?
  3. Now, compare current advertising practices to how photographs were displayed in the 1800s and the early 1900s.
  4. Describe two specific ways in which the photographs were displayed and the services of photographers were advertised in the past.
  5. How did consumers discover photographers in the past?
  6. Have some methods remained the same? What has changed?
  7. Look at the daguerreotype portraits in your course textbook. Compare the daguerreotype portraits you studied with the contemporary portrait studio you chose. Consider the following in your narrative paper:
    1. What are some of the stylistic elements in daguerreotype portraits, and how do they compare to contemporary portraiture? Do they share some features in common (pose, expression, props, setting, composition, lighting, form, shape, sharpness, surface texture, etc.)?
    2. How do the common features relate to the daguerreotype process itself?
    3. Do you think that any of these stylistic approaches have affected the look of photographic portraiture today?
    4. Explain some similarities and differences between one specific daguerreotype portrait from your text and one highlighted image on your chosen contemporary portrait studio's website.
  8. Add a works-cited page to your Microsoft Word document that lists all the sources you used in your research. Follow MLA conventions.

Subject History
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/16/2013 11:00 pm
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