top of page
Color Logo.jpg

New York • Newport Beach • Palm Beach • Miami

Hernandez - 12465 -14.jpg
The "Line of Drama"
Preserving the Lifelike Essence in Portrait Art



In the nuanced world of portrait art, the size of a portrait extends beyond mere dimensions; it is a gateway to an emotional and personal connection with the subject. This connection is what I call the "Line of Drama" - a pivotal point in portrait size where the subject ceases to feel present and lifelike. In the realm of fine art and photography, staying above this line is essential for preserving the powerful sense of presence that large-scale portraits uniquely offer.

The Lifelike Presence in Large Portraits


Historically, larger portraits have been revered for their ability to capture and convey the essence of their subjects with striking realism. From the grandiose royal portraits of the Renaissance to the impactful large-scale photographs of the modern era, size has always been integral to the portrayal of life and presence. In larger portraits, every subtle expression, every minute detail is rendered with such clarity and scale that the subjects seem to exist in our space, sharing moments with us.

The "Line of Drama" and Personal Connection


The "Line of Drama" represents a critical threshold in portrait size. Above this line, portraits maintain a vivid sense of realism and presence, allowing viewers to feel a deep, personal connection with the subjects. This connection is more than visual; it's emotional, bridging the gap between art and reality. However, once we cross below this line, the portraits lose this lifelike quality. They no longer command the same attention or evoke the same intensity of emotion, resulting in a diminished personal connection with the viewer.

Historical Perspective on Portrait Size


Art history supports the significance of larger portraits in creating an impactful viewer experience. In eras like the Baroque or the Victorian period, large portraits were not just symbols of status but were also celebrated for their ability to bring subjects to life, making them a part of the viewer's world. These historical precedents reinforce the importance of choosing a portrait size that stays above the "Line of Drama," ensuring the subject's presence and connection remain intact.

The Imperative of Choosing Larger Portraits


Understanding the "Line of Drama" is crucial for anyone seeking to select a portrait that truly resonates. In my studio, we advocate for the selection of larger portraits, not just for their aesthetic appeal but for their ability to maintain this vital connection between the art and the observer. Staying above this line means choosing a portrait that feels alive, one that holds the power to transform spaces and evoke deep emotional responses.



The "Line of Drama" is more than a concept; it's a guiding principle in the selection of portrait art. It emphasizes the need to choose sizes that do justice to the subject's presence and essence. In the art of portraiture, size is not just a dimension; it is the key to keeping the subject alive and connected with the viewer. Choosing a portrait above the "Line of Drama" is choosing to keep the subject's spirit and presence vibrantly alive in our spaces.


About the Author:  Bradford Rowley


Bradford Rowley stands at the helm of Bradford Portraits, a premier luxury portrait studio with esteemed locations in New York, Palm Beach, Miami, and Newport Beach. Distinguished as the only photographer ever to command a $125,000.00 fee for a singular speaking engagement to his peers, Bradford's acclaim extends beyond the camera. His clientele boasts a roll-call of celebrities and eminent personalities. Bradford's exceptional talent led the Smithsonian in Washington DC to seek his work for display. Away from the studio, he cherishes family life with his wife and seven children, residing with the youngest four in South Florida as well as their home along the coast in Peru.  

bottom of page