Portraits help us capture a person’s character (if done right) and freeze it in time. However, sometimes, you want to display more than that, you want that character to have context. A portrait can often be made better and more engaging by putting the subject in front of something interesting. On the flip side, most landscapes can also be made more interesting by sticking a person in front of it.
When your subject and location complements one another, you get an end result that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Sometimes it’s a natural occurrence, perhaps a worker in his element or a dancer on her stage; sometimes it’s artificial, a model posing, an arrangement of whatever whimsical scene happens to rattle around in your mind. The idea stays the same: to provide context and tell a story.