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The subject of portraiture is one of art's oldest fascinations, which has provided rich material for many artists working with film and video.

The use of the portrait in moving image can be found in the intimate arena of families and friends, who not only star but often contribute to the work's narrative and production. Many artist filmmakers reject conventional forms of on-screen portraiture, such as those associated with the techniques of the 'talking head' interview, in favour of a more diverse range of approaches which often have a very personal perspective at their heart. This has also meant turning the camera on themselves, as much for pragmatic purposes as to create intimate and confessional self portraits. Faces better known from news, art and culture also become a rich area of exploration in many artists' films and videos. This may be motivated by a subversive critical intent or in homage to a historical figure who has made a difference.

Confrontational, and inquisitive, portraits by film and video artists often reveal as much about their makers as they do about their subject.

Still from Robert Marshall


Mining a family history.

Still from Anju


Turning the camera on the artist.

Still from Anju


Famous faces redefined.

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