Yale Portraits - Thesis Statement

For this reason, I say among my friends that Narcissus who was changed
into a flower, according to the poets, was the inventor of painting ...
What else can you call painting but a similar embracing with art of what
is presented on the surface of the water in the fountain?

Players and painted stage took all my love
And not those things that they were emblems of 2

... one of the heresiarchs of Uqbar had declared that mirrors and
copulation are abominable, because they increase the number of men.3

Although the narcissist can function in the everyday world ... his devaluation of
others, together with his lack of curiosity about them impoverishes his personal
life and reinforces the "subjective experience of emptiness." 4

Solipism and nihilism are only two of the ironic themes of recent portraiture.5

The photograph presents a precise moment documentarily.6

To take pictures is simultaneously to confer value and to render banal.7

... whereas the snapshot stole a life it could not return, the time exposure
expresses a life that it never received.8

The following pictures are portraits of art, architecture and drama graduate students.


New Haven, 1983


3  Jorge Luis Borges, " Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertis." Labyrinths (New York: New Directions, 1962) p. 3.

6  Aleksandr Rodchenko, " Against the Synthetic Portrait for the Snapshot, 1928" in Russian Art of the
          Avant-Garde trans. and ed. John Bowlt (New York: Viking Press,1976) p. 251.

7 Susan Sontag, introduction to Peter Hujar, Portraits in Life and Death (New York: DaCapo Press, 1976.)

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