All portraits reveal something of the sitter, the photographer and also of us as viewers, but none reveal a whole and complete being, no matter how much we believe this could be so. This is part of the enduring fascination with the photographic portrait, which purports to be an exact likeness but operates more accurately as a metaphor for the self and how that self might exist in the world at a particular point in time.
– Judy Annear, senior curator, photographs
What’s in a face? aspects of portrait photography is an exhibition of more than 45 photographs from the Art Gallery of NSW collection. It focuses on some of the crucial points in the history of photographic depictions of the human face, ranging from studio portraiture in the late 19th century to contemporary practices today.