In this body of work, the contemplation of self-representation has been extended. The subjects choose their own environment, dress themselves, and pose themselves. They know they are going to be posing for their portrait at a set time and over a period of time, so they are able to prepare themselves, mentally and physically. The photographer becomes collaborator and the facilitator of their desires. The collaborative nature of the project directs the work. We talk, and our conversations direct the shoot. I don’t direct anything except the camera’s location and the lighting. I set up the camera to create a space the subject is free to move around in. Often using a remote shutter, off camera, my only interaction is to make them aware that the shutter is about to be released, so they are able to pose, presenting their ideal self, at that moment.
There is an inherent theatricality to portraiture. This is problematic to the viewer and to the photographer, who wish to see (or show) what Diane Arbus called that “gap” where the subject reveals themselves the way they do when they don’t realize they are on camera, as in Walker Evans Subway Portraits. I am looking directly into that form of theatricality and examining what it has the power to reveal.