What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Early Days


Duane Michals

Iconic American photographer Duane Michals is someone I’ve long admired, but somehow never written about. Among his remarkable body of work are his celebrity portraits, wherein he captured many now-household names in their early years. Not only were those portraits sweet and sensitive, hinting at the greatness to come, his occasional captions always added to the magic. He said his captions grew out of his frustration with the limitations of photography as a storytelling medium.

Michals’s goal with his portraits was not to capture the clearest image of his subject’s facial features. Rather, he strove to get something of their person, and it’s been said he came closer than most.

“I have a new concept. I call it the “prose portrait.” A prose portrait doesn’t necessarily show you what someone looks like; it’s not a line-for-line reproduction of a face. A prose portrait tells you what the nature of the person is about. When I photographed Magritte, the portrait was made in the nature of Magritte. When I photographed Warhol, the portrait was in the character, the mystery—if there is one—of Warhol. You can’t capture someone, per se. How could you? The subject probably doesn’t even know who he (or she) is. So, for me, a prose portrait is about a person, rather than of a person.”

– The New Yorker Interview with Duane Michals

The now 90-year-old Michals is still kicking around, taking amazing photographs and making experimental short films. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Vimeo.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

6 thoughts on “Early Days

  1. These are such great portraits. I obviously don’t personally know any of these people but the portraits do seem to capture personality. There is a clear mood or emotion to each of them. They are also clearly orchestrated but in a way that seems candid. I am most taken with the portrait of Andy Warhol looking like such an everyday bloke. I don’t think I have seen him like that.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I did know a couple of them but all of them are very interesting photographs. Enjoy Hal

    Liked by 2 people

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