Posed portraits, especially when
compared to candid portraits of the same subject, seem to me to be more a
measure of the vanity of the subject than anything else. This is perhaps
why most posed portraits hold little interest for me and, when they do
appeal to me, it generally results in as much an interest in the skill and
sensitivity of the portraitist as in his or her subject.
All this is probably why I've delayed so long in
bringing my own attempts at portraiture to light, so to speak. And it
surely is the reason for my giving portraiture such a broad interpretation
in my own work. In fact, here the viewer will find very few purposely
composed photographs of subjects willingly submitting to having their
likeness captured on film (or digital media cards, these days).
Serendipity and spontaneity have generally seemed
to me to be better composers, especially of portraits, than any
preconceived notion of a person that I might conjure. After all, is it not
these attributes of photography, especially spontaneity, which give it a
particular distinction in portraiture from other visual forms of
expression, like drawing or painting?
Generally then, most of my "portraits"
are either candid ones or ones in which the subjects have had little
opportunity to "compose" themselves into something they might
think they are, rather than how they appear to others.
Compiling many of these photographs for this
exhibit somehow put me in mind of Norman Rockwell again, particularly his
genius in portraying man's better nature. Similarly, my own preference has
always been to expose the nobler, more attractive, or wholesomely amusing
aspects of my subjects. Once again, I find my ego not unpleased with the
association with that great American artist, even though I once more have
had to make the connection myself.