Art snobs say that a good portrait can capture the “essence” of the subject. Most mean it in a dull and boring way. My interpretation is the iconic Winston Churchill portrait by Yousuf Karsh. I like it because it seems genuine.
The artist describes the portrait:
“Churchill’s cigar was ever present. I held out an ashtray but he would not dispose of it. I went back to my camera and made sure that everything was all right technically. I waited; he continued to chomp vigorously at his cigar…Then I stepped toward him and, without premeditation, but ever so respectfully, I said, ‘Forgive me, sir,’ and plucked the cigar out of his mouth. By the time I got back to my camera, he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me. It was at that instant that I took the photograph…”
With that portrait in mind I made some attempts that look nothing alike.