psychological portraits

4.7.2017 // Today was the last day of my first year at university! I still can’t believe that it’s already over, and even though I don’t have all my grades yet, I’m looking forward to my holidays 😊
In the picture you can see me with all the books and papers I had to read and learn the past year 😁


ci guardano, ci  osservano, qualcuno sorride ironico, qualche altro ci guarda con arroganza, o con fermezza. Se ci spostiamo il loro sguardo ci segue, ci controlla, ci interroga. Sono i ritratti eseguiti da Antonello da Messina, un punto importante della pittura italiana in cui l'abilità pittorica esalta quella psicologica del personaggio ritratto.  Chi era l'antico marinaio, un parente ? un amico ? chi era il vecchio che ci guarda con altergia e supponenza? chi il giovane dallo sguardo fermo e deciso? chi la ragazza che un semplice telo azzurro, appena aperto con ancora evidente il segno della piega, trasforma in una madonna, dallo sguardo sereno e profetico eppur benevolo e puro nella sua semplicità. L'uomo è uno scrigno dalle mille serrature e quanto vi trovi dentro cambia a seconda della serratura che usi, questo era forse il messaggio che Antonello ha lasciato in quelli sguardi che cambiano di personaggio in personaggio e che scrutano la nostra anima interrogandosi anche loro su di noi.

they are watching us, they are observing us, someone smiles ironically, a few more looks at us with arrogance, or firmly. If we move, their eyes following us, controls us, makes us wonder. They are the portraits done by Antonello da Messina, an important point of Italian painting in which the pictorial ability enhances the psychological portrait of the character. Who was the old sailor, a relative? a friend ? Who was the old man who looks at us with  arrogance? who the young man with the firm and determined look? Who the girl that a simple blue tarp, (just opened with still evident sign of the fold), that became a madonna, from serene and prophetic vision and yet benevolent and pure in its simplicity. The man is a treasure trove of a thousand locks and what we can find inside changes depending on the lock you use, this was perhaps the message that Antonello left in those eyes that change from character to character and have been surveying our soul even questioning about us.

“I was XXXX and didn’t turn out YYYYY!”

And that’s the point, really. Your personal experience doesn’t equal to everyone else.

(Also, for goodness sake, if the police make a psychological portrait of some criminal, investigating possible motivations behind their actions, nobody says it’s done to excuse that criminal’s actions. But no, of course that when you try to investigate anyone’s motivation (be it a fictional character or a real person), it’s only to excuse their doing.)

anonymous asked:

you said that you felt as though the crucible is a far more character-driven piece of work than many others perceive it as; may i ask for your opinion on some of the characters? i love the crucible, and i love hearing your thoughts on things perhaps even more so. thank you!

Absolutely—that Miller took pains to describe them at length, to give us a glimpse of their psyche before they step on scene, is a touch I absolutely loved; I wonder how this plays out on scene, and if directors have incorporated the psychological portraits in performance.

The trio of my favourites comprises, of course, John, Elizabeth, and Abigail. John particularly strikes me as one of the great figures of literature: crippled by his flaws, but aware of them, striving for a redemption he would not allow himself to seize, changeable, violent and tender, deeply brave, and yet lapsing time and time again in tremors of outspoken fear, I found him so compelling. Because of the medium, he is forced to express what he would most likely keep in check in a novel: and giving a voice—a defying, sometimes mad voice— to the stream of his consciousness, his anger, his panic grounds the play in timeless humanity—beyond its social commentary. His context, the metaphorics behind it, everything is secondary—what matters is John himself, and how a man reacts when his life is just streaming out between his open fingers.

Elizabeth is the other side of this crisis: and because she’s first described through other words, she appears timid, demure—but her reserve breaks down as the play advances, and her wiser, calmer walk to the scaffold, the nagging voice of her realism creates a fascinating dynamic within the couple, and between herself and her environment, especially against Abigail’s extreme reactions, her explosive theatricality.

Abigail I fell in love with immediately, before I knew what the play was about, before I understood she was the bad apple of the bunch. The way she replied to her uncle, her barely hushed arrogance and violence, the capricious possessiveness of John, the sensuality of her words—mingling sex, love, witchcraft, and destruction alarmingly, same vocabulary, same images over and over again. This charisma and confidence are quickly put to “good” use in the control she exerts from the other girls. When she’s definitively refused by John, rather than checking her behaviour, she opens the gate to the dormant monster inside her: and her cruelty, her irrational frenzy, the pettiness of her retribution are truly frightening. I would love to know how this plays out on stage—if the tension, the fear she instils in others are as perceptible as it is on the page.

In any case, this is all completely subjective, but, gosh! Miller really infused his historical figures with an astounding life and presence.  

anonymous asked:

Dude, your noir au is legit!! Could I ask what some of the unmentioned characters do in this bamf au? Thanks! (Ignore if u cba)

Ah thank you!

hmmm that’s a tough question. Like, one of the hallmarks of noir is that it’s usually crime dramas and mysteries or like… really intense psychological portraits of people screwed over by the American dream or explorations of toxic relationships or varying combinations of those kinds of plots and portraits. Since noir tends to frequently be explorations of the same subjects (usually crime and urban environments) it’s difficult to come up for roles for everyone that isn’t all ‘Cops and Robbers.’

Symmetra’s a District Attorney, D.Va and Pharah are both cops, Orisa is a security guard, Lúcio’s a musician, Zarya’s a bouncer, Zenyatta runs a shelter and soup kitchen, (Also all the omnics are still omnics in this AU because robots in vintage fashion), Sombra’s a bartender, Widowmaker’s a nightclub singer and assassin (a real Femme Fatale…not that she wasn’t already…), Jack is a private investigator who is Getting Too Old For This, Ana is supposed to be retired but she keeps getting embroiled in mysteries á la Miss Marple. Junkrat and Roadhog are bank robbers. Torbjörn’s a gunsmith who keeps Mystery Man McCree’s guns in working order and complains about it the whole time, and who is also a ballistics expert whom the police department often goes to for consultation (you can imagine how stressful that can be). Reinhardt is a former wrestling champ but now he’s Mercy’s current landlord and he’s a sweet man who hopes she’s not getting into too much trouble. Winston is a scientist/private detective and still a gorilla because fuck it, if I’m keeping the robots I might as well keep the gorilla.


In our recent post on Philippe Halsman’s photographic work with Julie Andrews in the late 1950s-early 1960s, it was mentioned that the famed photographer returned to work with Julie again during the filming of Hawaii in the summer of 1965. In the few short years that intervened, Julie had suddenly become one of the hottest movie stars on the planet – courtesy of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music – and was in extraordinary demand. So it was that in July/August 1965, Philippe Halsman was dispatched to Honolulu “to shoot Julie Andrews in the filming of ‘Hawaii’“ (Wilson, 4).

Ostensibly on freelance assignment for Look magazine, Halsman took a series of portraits and candid shots that ended up gracing the pages of not just Look but a host of magazines and newspapers throughout the world. Halsman photographed Julie over several days and in several contexts with the most widely circulated images stemming from two ‘glamour’ shoots he did with Julie on the film set at Makua and a third candid shoot with Julie and infant daughter Emma relaxing on Kahala beach near her Honolulu residence.

As discussed in the previous entry, Halsman’s guiding philosophy as a photographer was to get “beyond the mask” of his subjects and express something of their inner emotional being (Halsman, 1981). “A true portrait,” he declared, “is a photograph which captures some of the essence of the subject’s character, and reveals something of the personality or nature of the person” (Desfor, 3-E). To facilitate this effect, Halsman would, among other things, engage his sitter in deep conversation, “making the subject forget he or she is being photographed” and use “music, props or words” to “register a subject’s spontaneous reaction” (ibid.).

We have no record of what passed between Halsman and Julie on the beaches of Hawaii, but whatever tactics the photographer used were clearly effective because, once again, he achieves a refreshingly candid and original view of the star. At once natural and unguarded, Halsman’s Hawaiian shots depict Julie in a dynamic range of moods and guises from pensive, sensual and playful to carefree, joyous, and affectionate. Press copy accompanying the shots made frequent note of the fact Halsman was able to get Julie looking so exceptionally relaxed and at ease:

“Sun and sand often create mirages. For instance, our cover girl – Hollywood’s most wanted actress, Julie Andrews, looks as if she’s relaxing on a beach. That’s a mirage – no female has any time for beach-combing, who in three years has raked in more money than all the Presidents since Harry Truman…On the day portraitist Philippe Halsman staged the ‘relaxation’ shot on an Hawaiian beach, the little English Cinderella girl had arisen as usual at 5:45 a.m., gulped a cup of black coffee, spent two crack-of-dawn hours on the ‘Hawaii’ set having her face and hair fussed over while dictating letters and discussing publicity projects, had sweated through eight hours of camera glare to eke out two minutes of worthy film and snatched a plebeian lunch at the company commissary” (“No Time,” 19)

For our money, part of the reason Halsman was such a good fit for Julie as a photographer was that he gave her space and license to move…literally. Unlike classic portraitists for whom stillness and poise is a paramount objective – it’s not without reason that traditional portraits are called “sittings” – Halsman regularly encouraged his subjects to physical activity as a way of both loosening up and letting out their inner character. His so-called “jumpology,” also profiled in the last post, was the most famous example but Halsman would frequently exhort his subjects to move in other ways – dancing, skipping, walking, whatever felt comfortable or came naturally to them. In many of Halsman’s Hawaiian shots, we see Julie mid-action: twirling, strolling, crouching, clowning. Even in the seemingly still shots, there is a suggestion of movement and/or an emphasis on physical gesture with Julie leaning forward, cocking her head, raising her arm.

Julie has often commented that, because she is by nature an active, effervescent sort of personality, “stillness” doesn’t come easily to her. Indeed, apropos Hawaii Julie claimed that she initially struggled with the part of Jerusha because “I wasn’t as subdued as she was. My personality is more bubbly. And I felt I wasn’t doing anything, just repressing myself and being her” (Gelmis, I-6). Director George Roy Hill even joked that “She’s always doing something, bubbling and bouncing, but the part of Jerusha was very still, so I had to put her in a vice and tell her, ‘When in doubt, do nothing’“ (Stirling, 164). By allowing Julie to indulge her penchant for physical and emotional ebullience, Halsman arguably captured something of the inner essence of the star, creating some of the most memorable portraits of her from this part of her career.


Desfor, Irving. “Tips on Taking True Portraits.” News Journal. 8 February 1976: 3-E.

Gelmis, Joseph. “Julie Andrews: Happy Superstar.” The Toledo Blade. 29 September 1968: I-1, 6.

Halsman, Philippe. Sight and Insight. Garden City: Doubleday, 1972.

________________. The Mask Falls: Psychological Portraits. Baltimore, MD: Harris Galleries, 1981.

“No Time on her Hands.” This Week Magazine. 18 September 1966: 19.

Morgan, Thomas B. “Julie, Baby.” Look. 28 December 1965: 47-56.

Stirling, Richard. Julie Andrews: An Intimate Biography. London: MacMillan, 2008.

Wilson, Earl. “It Happened Last Night.” The Morning Herald. 31 July 1965: 4.

© 2016, Brett Farmer. All Rights Reserved.