O and I went to an event the other weekend. it was ‘alternative’. I phrase it carefully, this is a strange country.
The people attending were not the ‘normal’ crowd. Everyone fascinated me. I wanted to paint them all, I could see so much on them, or at least I imagined I did. Its hard to know if I was projecting. But certainly I was inspired to portray what I imagined. So I asked the two people we knew at the party and another two guys if they were interested in participating in the project. I also asked 2 women, one of whom had a shaved head and was thick with ink, the other was covered in clothes and a low hat.
So on Friday, last week, 3 of them showed up here. I was only expecting to do one lot of photos/interviews but in the end I did all three. The interviews were amazing. I was so moved by each of their stories. Their honesty reminded me of how much of a gift it is when people choose to share themselves. Witnessing their stories I felt a sense of completion and satisfaction. Somehow I felt that I had found the ‘reason’ for doing these portraits.
On the practical side of things, I was filming for Susan – there was not much space left on the camera. So though it is short, now that i can review it, I want to film all of the interviews, it adds so much depth to the process, especially as I am so busy, taking the pics, asking questions, taking notes. In the footage I can observe when there is a space, where he/she is looking, thinking, posture, as opposed to when they are ‘on’, answering questions, being photographed. It was another revealing.
A is the first person for me to work on who I dont know at all. I was worried that I would objectify him. As it was easy to me to project and fabricate a story of my own choosing. However the truth that he exposed, as with P and T, was so very real and pulsing, and left me in such awe and respect, that I realise following this process means I have to address what is presented, even though it is polluted by my interpretation and my sympathies, emotions etc, but at least i am starting with raw material.
It was evening when they arrived and the light was bad for the normal position I have used previously with the light and outside behind the subject. After taking the pictures I was frustrated by all the noise of objects in the background interrupting the clarity of my vision of them. As a consequence I have discovered a new way of using my paintshop pro to blend the back ground. I confess I like the overly dramatic grey that i have created.
Fortunately these are merely ‘sketches’ so Im not too worried about the faux feel of the background. But they remind me of some of the paintings I did in Scotland.