I have discovered that one of my weaknesses in photography is asserting direction with living subjects. Although I love portraits, viewing them & taking them, I don't seem to have developed a knack for arranging them. I guess I feel uncomfortable with ordering people about, or telling them how to behave in front of the camera, not wanting them to deviate from their natural posturing. So I have fallen into the practise of spontaneously 'grabbing' portraits of whomever happens to be in the vicinity, & whenever the light triggers me into momentary action. So here I offer you a variety of impromptu portraits I have gleaned from my socialising over the last few years.
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Having spent many thousands of hours with others, speculating over the infinite possibilities of life & the universe, in hundreds of pubs, bars, cafés, parks, streets & other urban hang-outs, many of my portraits happen to be the culmination of barrier breaking conversations & behaviour. We get closer by deconstructing or breaking down walls, & building bridges, be they makeshift & ramshackle, or methodical in design & sturdily constructed; in order to access new common goals, or each others complimentary assets. We feel a need to reach each other. We feel things in each other we feel we need to bathe in. We are titilated & allured by mystery & depth, & qualities that to us represent the exotic, even unattainable. In the presence of others our own selves are rejuvinated, relieved, motivated. We seek affection, acknowledgement, understanding. We need love, & seek its more unusual forms by travelling along the threads of new discourse, rearranging the markers of past understandings, decoding each other through fresh experiences.
Portraits also offer us elevation from our own preconceptions of ourselves. Yes, you do sometimes look like that, that is your countenance, & yes again, I do see that in you, whether you have or not......or at least in that moment, which may never be recaptured. The current trend in portraiture is the 'selfie', a snapshot of immediate social focus, dispensed instantly into the internet public forum for brief scrutiny by ones peers, or the wider stranger-social complex amassed through social networking. We have a fascination with the human image, which ultimately exists beyond the physical representation of itself. When we take a photograph we eject the past into the future, we create a haunting, & the possibility of inumerable pasts for its future audience.
It's not often we have the chance to gaze for time undisturbed, at the soul of another, absorbing the waves of the sum of the experiences their reflection represents. I hope I have acheived this at least in some of the portraits exhibited here.
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