Can photographic portraits be objective, realistic depictions of their subjects, or are they necessarily subjective? A traveling exhibition entitled ‘Retratos, dialogos da identidade’, translated as ‘Picture Yourself’, explores this concept, through the lenses of Magnum photographers. Opening at the Cultural Center of FIESP in Brazil, the exhibition delves into the genre proposing how its styles, methods, and technologies are often transgressed and subverted by photographers in a bid to capture multiple expressions of identity.
Philippe Halsman shows his famous essay Jump, where he presents personalities such as Grace Kelly, Salvador Dalí, Muhammad Ali, Marilyn Monroe and Jerry Lewis frozen leaping in mid-air; Bruce Gilden exposes pedestrians on the streets of New York; Martin Parr presents his self-portraits; Elliott Erwitt explores the sentimental history of family portraiture; Steve McCurry exhibits his classic images captured in Asia and Paolo Pellegrin unmasks mythic cinema personalities such as Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others.
Each photographer’s unique approach to portraiture opens up dialogue around the genre, delving into the complex interactions between psychology, sociology, aesthetics, philosophical and ideological cultures, that make up portrait photography, attesting to the camera’s powerful ability to describe the human condition in all its facets.