When we say of a portrait that it is a perfect likeness, we mean not just that it accurately delineates its subject. There is a further implication that the image penetrates beyond surface appearance to give us some deeper sense of the person depicted. The same logic can be applied more broadly. There was a time when it seemed a plausible goal for the artist to resolve a picture so conclusively that the result of his or her work would potentially transcend simple representation to reveal the essence of the subject. Today such a project might seem naïve. We are glutted with images. What single picture might separate itself from this flood? Any such attempt to make such a work will lead inevitably to the question of composition. This issue is perhaps most urgent for artists working in in photography, a medium that now

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