‘A portrait is a representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer’
This is Wikipedia’s rather old-fashioned definition as to what defines a portrait, but I do agree that for a photograph to be classed as a portrait, the subject needs to at least be aware that they are being photographed. However, for me, the most important aspect of a portrait photograph is that no part of the image is altered in any way. I don’t mean that a photograph can’t be cropped slightly, although I rarely do, or that basic alterations such as contrast, levels and tone can’t be made.
No part of the subject should ever be added or taken away; I firmly believe that the moment you remove a spot or shave a couple of inches off a waist in Photo Shop you have distorted that photograph and turned it into a caricature, a cartoon, almost. I am a photographer, not a cartoonist…
Some people are happy with themselves, some aren’t. We are what we are.