Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Yesterday evening was the critique in Brian's portrait class for our assignment on the human condition.
We were assigned to make a portrait inspired by the film Bodysong and make a documentary/contemporary portrait that reflected something personal to us about the human experience. For two weeks I struggled to find an original theme that resonated with me. I racked my brain begging for an idea that was not contrived or cliché, then as with most of my concepts it evolved by happenstance. In this instance it was a combination of events: music from a ballet I attended and the inspiration of another student's Christian devotion.
I made a portrait of Joel. I brought him to Mother's Bay in Long Beach, a still saltwater bay to simulate a river for a baptism. I tested my own faith with a camera I have had very little luck with, a Holga. To increase the contrast and the angelic texture of Joel's skin I used a red filter, and I captured the image above. I am very pleased with it, although there were a few in the class who thought this image was staged. Well of course its staged, many photographs are staged. However, the question is does it work? I believe this one does.
I printed it on some old grade 3 Oriental Seafull I've had sitting in the darkroom for over ten years . Of course it was a bit fogged, but I was able to make something out of it. The texture of the paper remains very beautiful. But after becoming fairly proficient at photoshop, it is amazing how much easier it is to manipulate what I want on a monitor than in chemistry. Still I argue the quality of an analog print remains superior.