The World of Fine Art and Portraits

Steve McCurry - Afghan Girl

Steve McCurry - Afghan Girl

I don’t think anyone is unfamiliar with Steve McCurry’s photo titled Afghan Girl. The National Geographic cover is one of the most recognized photos on the planet. It epitomizes the mashup of fine art and portraiture.

What about it makes it great though? Is it the complementary color palette? Her striking eyes? The Composition? What kind of camera did McCurry use, and what did he do to it in the darkroom? These are some of the questions I hope to explore with this blog.

My name is Eric Dye. Currently I live in Erie and study journalism and communications at Penn State Behrend. My real passion though is photography. I've been pursuing the perfect portrait for over eight years now.  In 2010 I joined the Behrend Beacon newspaper as a staff photographer, and in 2013 I became their creative director which I still continue to do today.

It’s my goal to explore with you what makes great portraiture, and how technology trends are influencing fine art portraiture today. Together we will create some amazing images and share fascinating stories.

 To do that we are going to dismantle some of the great images through history, including paintings, posters, and of course photos. There will be reviews of technology like cameras, computers, and gadgets that are the tools of the trade, and guides on artistic techniques such as this one about the rule of thirds (it features fruit!)

 I understand not everyone can travel across the world to take photos either, so I plan to show you how to create wall-worthy images in or around your hometown. Erie is not known for much more than pretty sunsets, but hopefully that can change!

 To get started I’d like to share some inspiration with you guys. These are some of the photographers who I aspire to and I encourage you to follow their work, you can only gain from it.

  1. Steve McCurry - McCurry has taken my favorite image of all time (no, it’s actually not afghan girl). His mastery of color is incredible, and every portrait photographer should have a copy of his coffee table book Steve McCurry The Iconic Photographs.

  2. Annie Leibovitz - Love her or hate her seems to be the case, but the Vanity Fair contributor does undeniably complex studio work.

  3. Salvador Dali - Known more for his surreal work than portraiture, but his creativity is top notch. His images will rack your brain as you try to understand them.

  4. Joe McNally - McNally is an expert at artificial lighting, and is a great example of contemporary industry trends.

  5. Sally Mann - A distinctly controversial photographer who pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable or unacceptable portraiture.

  6. David LaChapelle - Another surreal photographer, LaChapelle has bright, busy, and interesting images.

  7. Alfred Stieglitz - Stieglitz brought photography into the artistic realm, many consider him to be one of the earliest fine art photographers.

I can’t stress enough that this list is not exhaustive, just the tip of the iceberg of some of the amazing photographic artists over time.

Who is your inspiration? Leave a comment telling us who or what inspires you.