Silhouettes were the portraiture for the thrifty, it cost less than having a painting done of yourself.
The portraitist would set his subject up behind glass and use a backlight to reveal the silhouette or profile, which he or she would then trace. This was then transferred to black paper which was cut out and then mounted on white paper. A silhouette was the cheapest way to record someone's appearance, also the profile deviates less with age, weight, and illness. Figures were represented on coins in the Roman era in this way. Nowadays they are used for traffic signs and other signage meant to be read quickly.
I like the idea of a silhouette, it's attractive, mysterious, and leaves the rest to the imagination. I started a series of silhouettes and plan to do more. These are the first three.
I do pet portraits for families and friends, and I'm thinking of adding this to the services I provide, especially since I've seen it in the Pottery Barn catalog, it must be turning trendy again.