One of the classes I’ve taken at Foothill College recently was Portfolio Development.
I should not have been surprised to learn the class was geared towards helping graphic designers assemble a portfolio to seek employment. I learned many useful things despite not wanting to seek employment, (I have been self employed for 38 years and have no desire to change) one of which was how to write an aertists statement.
I even got and “A” on the assignment. So here in it’s entirety is the completed work.
For decades I specialized in photographing interior design, spaces and places designed and built for people to live and work in, but my photographs never included people. The spaces I photographed were beautiful and unsullied by the intrusion of the people for which they had been designed. My work presented a perceptual reality that did not include representations of humanity as anything other than an abstraction.
One day, while discussing photographing people in the early days of my career a woman asked if I didn’t like photographing people. My response was that I liked photographing them just fine, it was the jobs I held back then that I didn’t like. My response motivated me to evaluate my priorities, my values, and define a new, radically different direction for my work in the second half of my career.
Now after 32 years of consciously excluding people from my work I am embracing photographing people to the exclusion of all else by working in the headshot genre. In this genre the person, the individual is the totality of the imagery. I use no props and create no narrative within, or context for the imagery. I even minimize clothing and jewelry. The people in my headshots exist in a perceptual, psychological space devoid of any hint of an external reality.
This is a profoundly intimate representation of a person. And I am inspired by that intimacy. When I create headshots I work to communicate my subjects self image, their perception of themselves and how they want to be perceived.
This is a goal worthy of artistic exploration. This is a goal I can dedicate the next 32 years of my life working to achieve.