Decisions we make about a formal photographic portrait of a stranger often tell us more about ourselves than the subject. After all, any attributes we ascribe based on hairstyle, facial features or clothing usually illuminate our own biases much more than anything meaningful about the individual.
This is partly why the humble portrait often collapses under the weight of expectations we pile onto it. Even so, through a combination of facial expressions and body language, can a portrait hint at what’s happening in someone’s mind? And even without knowledge of a specific thought or emotion, can this combination of silent communication help create a more honest, potentially even authentic, human-to-human connection with the viewer?
For despite its many limitations, if we let it, the portrait might possibly record our psychological surface.