Blog #234 12/5/17
Portraiture photography will be one of the 6 sections of a major exhibition of my work (the others: Human Body, Athletes, Dance, Beauty and Fashion) opening at the Palm Beach Photographic Center opening reception, January 23, 2018.
I am almost addictively interested in what the face tells us about a person, the physical story that a portrait can tell. And I’ve pursued a wide variety of themes for my portrait projects, including “Redheads,” “Homeless,” “Clubs,” “Models and Their Mothers,” “Prisoners,” “Actors” and others (https://howardschatz.com/portfolio.php?galleryID=24).
When making portraits, I leave time—and space—for the subject to be in control. In essence, to tell the story they want to tell or to hide what they may want keep secret. There might be a smile, a thoughtful look or any one of a myriad of other expressions, any one of which is subconsciously meant to influence the photographic result. I do not initially attempt to remove the protective face that they choose to present to the world.
After a little time, I set about trying to peel away the “guard.” I am interested in who they really are; rather than making an image that will appeal to vanity, I search for veracity, for the truth of their being. I have used many techniques for doing this. One is to tell a story or make up a scene or situation, and as they listen to what I’m saying, their “presentation” face drops away. I then point out it’s that—their “listening” face—that will make a wonderful and true portrait. I then say that if the portrait is successful, I will send them a signed, fine, archival photographic print. Almost every person comes along for the ride.
This is the gallery layout planned for the section on Portraiture.
There is wall space for 15 photographs
“Map” for installation staff:
The images chosen for the Portraiture section:
There was gallery wall space sufficient for 15 photographs.
We needed to edit out (omit) some photographs we would
have liked to include. These nine portraits are among the “rejects.”
Do you think we made any mistakes?