A recent post by blogger Rodney Smith is currently making the rounds on the Internet. In his post, Rodney shares a thought that smiling in portraits is superficial:
“The truth is no portrait of substance has people smiling. Look at the history of painting, Rembrandt, Titian, Goya, Velasquez, Sargent, Vermeer, DaVinci, etc., the subjects gaze to the viewer is neutral at best, neither inviting nor forbidding. It is there for the viewer to see and feel.
Smiling is like much of American popular culture, superficial and misleading. It is part of our vernacular, but it should be expunged in photographs.”
What do you guys think? It can be argued that a portrait without smiling seems more timeless, or that people smiling in portraits makes one think of stock photography, but at the end of the day, does it really matter? Isn’t it up to the photographer and/or the subject to decide whether to smile or not? A counter argument to Rodney’s thoughts, as pointed out by a commenter on PetaPixel, states: “The historical reason behind the lack of smiling in paintings is simply that, unlike photography, painting is not instantaneous.” Let us know what you think in the comments!