Absence Portraits A photography project by Lissa Rivera

Absence Portraits is a project by New York-based photographer Lissa Rivera:

Found photographs have intrinsic qualities that shape our perceptions of an image and inform our
understanding of its time, place, and socioeconomic circumstances. By digitally removing the
person from old cabinet card portraits, Rivera reveals an artificial environment created by the
photographer to heighten the perception of the subject. Bereft of the individual, only a stage
remains. The tension between presence and absence is heightened by the placement of objects
that were meant to compliment the body of a person no longer there. The stage that we see is a
perfect tableaux of projected desires and fantasies. In an attempt to transcend class and location
during a time when photography was mostly restricted to the studio, a virtual environment is
created which eerily resonates with our digital age.

Monthly Photo Contest

Color film portrait photograph of a young woman by Michelle Marshall
© Michelle Marshall

2021 Portrait AWARD Deadline: 31 May 2021

"In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Portrait photography has one of the oldest and most interesting histories that harkens back to the early days of the medium. Through portraits of iconic figures or ordinary people, we discover a deep interest in others.

Recent works or gems from your archives, classic or experimental, and through any kind of storytelling: we want to discover the most powerful and captivating images of today’s portrait photography. We are open to all interpretations and want to see faces that gaze right into the soul!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

Submit Now