Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Portraiture

[one of my favorites of hers - Willie Nelson]
I went to see an Annie Liebowitz exhibit this past weekend. It's a mix of personal and professional photos, and it was rather amazing. Capturing someone's essence in a photo is a gift, and she really has that gift. In one of the descriptions on the wall next to a photo, she remarked that she needs people to be in their element, and not in some studio, which to me makes sense. It provides a context, and something to bring out the inside person. Not every photographer needs this, but I think I would too.

One great side exhibit was a room in which they had a digital camera and digital projectors. On two walls of the room two sets of images would rotate through (all portraits) - all of 'regular' people (people visiting the museum): some that were saved, and some that were captured there and then in the moment because they had a digital camera there so you could take a portrait of yourself. There were seats in the room so you could sit and view the images.

I had sooo much fun there, both watching and participating. Portraiture is wonderful in part because people are wonderfully complex. Faces are complex. Personalities are complex. It was a different experience to see myself up on a wall in a six foot by six foot photo. It was interesting to watch people decide if they would take a photo of themselves, and to see whether it would turn out serious or funny. Some kids loved it; others were too shy. One man walked into the room and I almost went up to him and 'forced' him to take a photo - such an interesting face (older, mixed heritage) accentuated by thick black rimmed glasses. But he walked on through without taking a photo of himself.

Would you take your photo and have it projected? Would you make a funny face or be serious? Or, do as I did and take about 10 covering every permutation and combination?

10 comments:

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I would definitely do it. And, if I had to decide right now, I'd want to make my monkey face. I might also do a serious one after I got the goofy one out of my system.

tammy vitale said...

Oh - I'm with you! I'd do a bunch of different ones! Sounds like an amazing exhibit - thanks for sharing (I came over from Leah's art every day month...)

NoRegrets said...

Oh, I wish I could see the Monkey Face! I did my scary face that scares my sister and I used to scare myself with when I was young. Oh, and a few others too.

And welcome Tammy! (so much for my art every day - I am almost working on my quilt every day so maybe that counts...)

Susan said...

I'd probably be the silly one. Multiple silly pictures one after the other.

On an odd note: I used to date a guy who loved things such as this. He said I was programmed to always smile when a camera was pointed in my direction. He finally got a picture of me just staring off in the distance and he said it was the real, true me.

And maybe it was.

NoRegrets said...

My brother got my nephew trained with the fake smile from a young age, so I always try and catch him off guard.

But smiling can also be the real you.

Tera said...

I remember an art teacher made us attempt a portrait such as this...let's just say art is not my forte!

EsLocura said...

oh I am so envious, sounds like such a great time. I think I would be the demure, slightly shy one. then again maybe not.

NoRegrets said...

Tera, I bet you'd look great projected up on a wall.
Es, likely you'd be both. It was sooo much fun.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Annie Liebowitz is fantastic! We have a couple of her books, and they are staggeringly beautiful for the reasons you mention. She captures the essence of a person on film as few have ever done.

I would probably not be photographed because I'm not photogenic. But I think I would let Annie L take my pic because it would tell me more than I know about who I really am.

NoRegrets said...

The thing is, everyone is photogenic. And you dón't have to have the photo taken by Annie Leibowitz for it to be so.