Friday, January 16, 2009

Reminiscing - 1990's Portraits

An art show I am participating in is called "Past and Present". The theme of the exhibit is to submit something from your past and a piece from the present - portraying the progression of your work over the years.

This project made me feel a little reminiscent of a project I did in the 1990's documenting the trend of facial piercings. The work consisted of studio portraits with an edgy, high contrast feel. I used my favorite camera at the time - The Mamiya RZ67. (I loved that camera ) Annie Leibovitz used this equipment for her famous celebrity portraiture. It taught me allot about working in the studio and methodically testing exposures.

The project itself was inspired by many creative photographers from this era. Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe to name a few. And various exhibits during this time including Jim Goldberg's "Raised by Wolves". Goldberg's work incorporated a multimedia project about the street children he followed, documented, and eventually told their story through images, text, and audio.

I was moved by the storytelling Mr Goldberg presented in this exhibit by getting the viewer involved in the individual stories by reading, observing, studying and listening. I, too, wanted to involve viewers when presenting my images.

The piercing project not only included 16x20 black and white images, but an audio loop of the interviews I did with each of my subjects. They told of their piercings, the importance and how it determined their individuality, character, and statement to society. When viewing the images, you can listen to each models story and read statements randomly presented with the exhibited images.

I feel the theme that has stayed with me over the years is the value of knowing the story behind the images. I like when a photograph is given a voice - a chance to speak to the viewer. Sometimes if you look really hard and listen..... you can hear it.

------------------- ------- -------- Can you hear it????


Robin said...

This is a trend I could and most likely never will understand! Very interesting photo lineup.

Q said...

Hello Susan,
I do hear stories in a photograph.
I mostly take bird and bug portraits. Once in awhile I will take a photgraph of a person...I try not to!
This essay does speak.
So good to meet you.


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