A couple weeks ago, my portrait was taken in Williamsburg for bene's editor's letter page. It was fun and got me thinking. Taking a portrait seems like a pretty simple assignment -- but there's so much you can do and such a wide range of styles.
A good portrait will capture the subject intimately and authentically; on top of that, it's amazing when the photographic style also helps communicate who the subject is. The New York Times Magazine's recent set of actors' portraits did just this.
Gael Garcia Bernal by Gueorgui Pinkhassov is above. The colors and textures are amazingly vivid. You can almost feel the fabric of the sofa and jacket.
Penelope Cruz by Andres Serrano is below. I love how you can see the pores and bumps on her face. Usually celebrity photos are so retouched they seem plastic, but here, she looks authentic, like she did in Volver.
And here is Cate Blanchett. A different style but very beautiful. The light, almost transluscent colors are gorgeous and communicate so well how pale and delicate she is.
Aside from the New York Times shots, New-York based photographer Tina Tyrell has a fresh and striking avant garde style. I love how her subjects are styled casually in kitchens.