woman looking at camera

Santa Barbara Museum: Making Faces

Portrayal /Betrayal

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2012


Karen Sinsheimer, “Making Faces: Constructed Portraits,” in
Portrayal /Betrayal, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2012, pp. 76, 82-83, 2013

Excerpt from Press Release:

March 12, 2012 – What does a portrait reveal? Does the subject portray the real self or betray things about the self: as master photographer Diane Arbus noted, “There’s a point between what you want people to know about you and what you can’t help people knowing about you.”

Portrayal/Betrayal offers over 100 photographic portraits drawn from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s permanent collection, with a few notable loans from private collections. Organized into nine distinct groups, each section reflects a different conceptual approach and explores the complex relationships that exist between the photographer and sitter. The viewer is the third member of the triad as he or she interprets a portrait decades later, far removed from the cultural, geographical, and psychological context in which the image was conceived.

Countless exhibitions and endless pages in art history books have been devoted to the genre of portraiture because portraits conjure up a viewer’s own memories, desires, fears, or hopes.  Ultimate truths will never reveal themselves, for the dynamic among the photographer, the subject, and the viewer shifts over time.  Whether collisions or collusions occurred at the moment the image was captured may never be known, but in 2012, it is expected that 250 billion photographs will be made and the predominant subject will be ourselves.  It is clear that the genre remains both fascinating and complex.

Source: Santa Barbara Museum of Art