Portraits

In dreams

Bus. From the series, Resistance.

Bus. From the series, Resistance.

 

Random thoughts and memories merge in dreams like a great excursion into art. With the picture above, it was the feeling, the remnants of a dream, which inspired a series of photographs where the line between reality and dreams is blurred.

Often details are forgotten at the moment of consciousness, but in this instance, the events and characters were clear: 

I took my family on holiday to London but couldn’t afford a hotel so we squatted. It was a large house in Hampstead Heath with few furnishings other than a dinner table. Banksy and his family also arrived in the afternoon to stay. Together we ordered dinner and while we waited for it to arrive, Banksy received a phone call to tell him that he had won the London Portrait Prize. As we celebrated, I asked who was his subject for the winning portrait, and he said, “the Queen”. He then drew an image of a bulldog’s face pressed up against a train window.

The writer and philosopher, Walter Pater, famously said, “All art constantly aspires towards the conditions of music” (i.e. to a greater degree than other arts, the story and the form are like one in music). This amalgamation of forms is even more pronounced in dreams, a place of little or no logic and only a hint of narrative progression; where the source and sequence of images are both abstract and referential at the same time. 

The effect of this phenomenon, if we remember details or not, is a deeply felt emotion that has minor connection to actual pictures or even sounds we may have experienced. It makes me think that dreams are the epitome of that condition that Pater talks about and may very well be the birthplace of all art.

 

Astrid

In a article on sensory processes, it was fascinating to read that, while we live in 3-Dimensional world, the images formed in our retinae are only 2D representations. The information we need about depth, for instance, can only be inferred by our visual system in the same way that our sense of space can be referenced by sound.

Photographers are constantly challenged by points of view that are stimulated by our inherent optics and rendered through the mechanical ones. With this in mind, it’s never just routine to capture a picture of someone because there’s so much that eyes and lenses need to do together before getting to more abstract qualities of capturing human character let alone, trying to embody a feeling…

Thoughts after a portrait session with Astrid, an Opera singer with less than 10% sight.