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My Generation

Portraits Without People

Photographer Robert Weingarten creates photos of a lifetime

Is it possible to capture someone’s entire life story in just one picture? With modern technology and a little creativity…the answer is “yes”!

See also: Robert Frank's vision of 1950s America.


Robert Weingarten is one of the most creative and inventive artistic photographers in the world. In his innovative “Portraits Without People” series, he expresses people’s character photographically without even showing their faces. He does this by taking hundreds of pictures of objects and places that define his subject and then compositing them into one picture. In his portrait of Buzz Aldrin, for example, he layered images of a spaceship, an American flag and planet Earth, among other icons that define the astronaut’s life. The translucent layers he creates allows people to see through the different levels of his subject’s personality, thus creating an art form that is truly in a category all its own.

Weingarten’s work is seen in museums and art galleries all over the world and he’s constructed portraits of some of society’s most recognizable icons (Carl Lewis, Colin Powell, Hank Aaron, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Day O'Connor and countless others). My Generation recently met with the imaginative artist to peel back the layers of his creative process.

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