Contextual portraiture is portraiture that sits the subject within a wider scene that brings more meaning to them. This might be their location, objects or other people in the scene, or their clothing, jewellery or possessions that add more to their story. These might tell us what the person does for a profession, the lifestyle they lead, their socio-economic situation or the particular news story they’ve found themselves a part of. The context of a portrait doesn’t need to tell the whole story, and it might even create more questions than it answers. But it does clearly distinguish the portrait from many studio portraits, where the focus is largely on the subject’s physical attributes and expression.
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