I feel that a successful portrait is one that conveys some true aspect of a person in a way that engages the viewer's interest, leading them think about the person in the portrait. We may speculate about what the person is thinking or feeling, maybe even have a feeling about who they are. Good individual portraiture is not specifically made to flatter the subject, in my view, but rather to reveal something about that person's true self that connects with the viewer, that presents something the viewer recognizes, be they a family member, friend, or total stranger.
Some of the portraits seen here were created with a goal of suggesting the subject's chosen field of work or interest. Others present the subject in a less specific way, but all intend to provide a glimpse of the person within, showing them in a characteristic or insightful way. This is the portrait photographer's greatest challenge and, when successful, his deepest satisfaction.
Take a moment to look carefully and let your fancy take flight. I can tell you that all these people are quite fascinating, each in their own way.
© Mark Longo