a photographic likeness is not necessary although
some of you may become commendably skilled
at such replication over time

think however about the ways
it is possible to recognise a person

your mother         your child         your lover

in silhouette         by profile         from behind

a slump of the shoulders
or the bending of spine in a way
that fixes unmistakably in your mind
characteristic curves and lines

these contain the personality
of your portrait
and of yourself
the artist

do not waste the breath
of your living model
in the lifelessness
of an instamatic image

© Frank Prem, 2001


14 thoughts on “Portraiture

  1. it’s all in the details ….. always has been ….. but when it becomes so fixed in one’s mind, then the shock of seeing with fresh eyes, – have to start again.

    love the flow and feeling of this – interestingly enough, but in some senses, not surprising, this is a very Tactile piece – visual too. Interesting translation – I feel like I’m holding an old picture, with your words printed in the silver gel, in my hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was listening to a mid-ranking professional artist a short time back saying he could always tell when a picture was painted off a photograph. That there were hard edges that aren’t there in drawing from life. Something like that. I find it interesting to contemplate, in any case.


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