The Portrait Experience
Presented at the Whistler House Museum of Art, Lowell, Massachusetts
September 9, 2017 to November 4, 2017
“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion.”
Failure, in creating portraits, is not only an option, it is a prerequisite. When I think of my failed attempts at creating portraits, they occurred at times when I lacked the courage to connect with my subject, to try to cajole or elicit something from them, and I ended up having made photographs that were nervous, tenuous, and worst of all, safe.
A portrait isn't simply a headshot, but neither is it a vision into a person's soul, as is often suggested. In the end the portrait is really just an image of the physical person in front of the camera. But it is not simply a "likeness". It is the manifestation of a collaboration between the artist and the subject. The subject is one of the performers in an intricate dance in which a fraction of a second is captured that hopefully tells a story. That story can be true, or complete fiction, and that's the trick. What happens in that fraction of a second can be the difference between a portrait and simply a photograph of a person.
The Whistler kindly hosted both an opening and a closing reception. Thanks goes to everyone at the Museum, especially the Museum's President and Executive Director, Sara Bogosian and her staff, along with artist Glenn Szegedy for hanging the show. And thank you especially too, to artist Lisa Kovvuri, with whom I shared the venue!
Here are some of my installation shots and a few shots from the opening reception, photographed with her usual Super-Duperness by Meghan Moore. Thank you Meghan for stepping in at the last minute too!!!