The Truthful Portrait: Can Posing Be a Tool for Authenticity in Portraiture?
This article explores the compatibility of posing and authenticity in portraiture. Often understood as a source of inauthenticity, I propose that posing in fact functions as an artistic tool that can support a truthful portrayal. My argument first discusses authenticity in relation to portraiture through the lens of Bernard Williams's idea of "truthfulness," which relies on his notions of "accuracy" and "sincerity." Second, I introduce a phenomenology of posing. I identify two aspects of posing that can be present in the portrait; these are the "posing sitter," who holds the actual physical pose, but also point out the use of a "posing effect" in the image, which I call the "posed sitter." Third, I address the worry of posing as a source of inauthenticity and demonstrate how this can be reframed in order to lay bare its capacity for enhancing truthfulness. The pose then need not be regarded with suspicion of artifice that clouds the authenticity of the sitter; instead, it can offer an approach to truthfully portray the sitter.
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