For me, the most memorable, powerful and provoking portraits of all time share a common thread, regardless of the subject’s age, their gender, ethnicity, vocation, whether they’re a refugee, or a rockstar, whatever it is whether staged or set up, captured quickly, or over an extended period of time, whether painted, drawn, or captured on film, whether tack sharp or blurry, these portraits are simple, strong, and true. I think they convey personality, they convey presence, emotion, values and ideals. They are not contrived or fake. In short they are authentic and real. They make us feel something. They somehow awaken the senses. And I think in simple subtle ways, they get beneath the surface, and they remind us what it means to be alive. They expand our understanding of life, of what it means to be human, and to be given this gift of time.
I photograph to show people what they really look like, I look for moments within moments, when the genuine is revealed. Anyone can take a camera, point it at another human being, press the shutter and call it a portrait. But a portrait of what ? Exterior, or surface only ?
I like to think of a portrait as a dance, two people working closely together to collectively produce a performance that moves not only its audience, but themselves as well. Each taking turns to lead the other, and where a relationship of trust is built that acts as a solid foundation from which more is given by each performer as the dance progresses.
The portrait is an exchange, where both photographer and subject give and receive in order that honest and truthful work is made.
Photographing people as I do is a privilege. Whether it’s a 2 year old that’s bouncing around my studio, a CEO in their luxury office, a creative covered paint, or a mother that’s just about staying awake. I love my job, because I learn so much from every one of you that I photograph.