This article stems from my ongoing, rather speculative research into a category of photographic portraying that works beyond the limits of recording the individual, unmistakable likeness of a specific sitter in front of the camera. Transcending the constraints of lifelike reproduction, this critique of portraiture investigates the proposition that photographs can be considered as potentially non-mimetic portraits to explore “non-like,” iconic relations between a photograph and its model. Accordingly, I have constructed the term “Non-Likeness” as an extension of our understanding of the genre of portraiture, because—different from the German “Bildnis” and “Porträt”—the English language makes no distinction between individual portraiture on the one hand, and supra-individual (or non-like) portraiture on the other, including forms of metaphorical or allegorical portraying rather than visual identification. Based on a research-by-practice model, also mapping the background of my own artwork, the present article introduces both the blank face and its supposedly “neutral” photograph to identify questions regarding the seemingly canonical debates about the Photographic—the photograph's referential status as an index in opposition to the meanings arising from its surface. Examining different strategies of visual montage by stressing a gap between the photographic sign and its referent, the article explores the triangle of signification between model, image, and viewer, constructing a third meaning from its separated elements.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||portraiture as non-Likeness, faciality, neutrality, smile, triangle of representation, latency, collective memory, imaginary montage|