PORTRAITS IN RETROSPECT

When a person is confronted with a camera, they become hyper-aware of their actions and appearance. Photographs represent us in a way that we do not usually see- how we appear to other people. When this representation differs from what we imagine, we tend to reflect on how we are seen, and how it is we would like to look.

Using a 4×5 view camera, I took portraits of a variety of individuals in the studio, asking them to pose as naturally as possible. I then asked the subject to write in their own hand the way they felt about their photograph. The subjects’ had a variety of reactions. Some individuals studied their portrait for a long period of time, and referenced it carefully when writing their statement. Others wrote down a few words as quickly as possible. Often, the subjects drew attention to aspects of themselves I had not noticed, even after long hours studying the photographs in post-production.

It is only human to be concerned with appearance; our appearance unavoidably shapes how others perceive us. In this project, the use of text and photographs illustrate this concern, as well as what is “natural” behaviour in front of a camera.

2009

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